Since he began his quest for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President Obama, five-term congressman Mark Kirk has been told that he could be the "next Scott Brown."
The comparison, which has mostly been made by Republicans, is likely do to the possibility of a Republican winning in what they consider to be "a pretty deep blue state." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said as much on his recent trip to Illinois, where he stumped for Kirk.
"You've got a great chance in what has been thought of as a pretty deep blue state to elect Mark Kirk to President Obama's Senate seat," McConnell said. "That is, indeed, as big as Scott Brown in Massachusetts."
On Thursday, Scott Brown headed to Illinois to energize the Kirk campaign, headlining a Chicago and DuPage county fundraiser. The events were expected to raise at least $200,000, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"The campaign also likes the Brown story line," Sweet writes. "...a Republican winning in a Democratic state."
Pat Brady, state chairman of the Illinois GOP, said in January that the situation in Illinois is quite different from the Massachusetts election of Brown:
"Massachusetts was more of a referendum on Obama," Brady said. "In Illinois, it's going to be a referendum on Democratic incompetence."
So far, however, Kirk's Democratic opponent Alexi Giannoulias is maintaining a narrow lead. In a Rasmussen poll released Wednesday, Giannoulias had 42 percent of voter support and Kirk had 40 percent. Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones could also be a concern. While his numbers were not a factor in the Rasmussen poll, Public Policy Polling reports that Jones had 9 percent of the vote as of August 17--with 19 percent of Illinois voters undecided.
Whether a Scott Brown visit to Illinois can get Kirk over the 40 percent mark remains to be seen, but Republicans are confident--and Kirk was sounding a lot like Brown at the Illinois State Fair last week:
"When we win this race, ... You will then send the 42nd Republican senator immediately to this session of Congress to stop the over-reach of the lame duck session of Congress," Kirk told a crowd of Republican supporters. "That single vote that you cast may have more to do with the future prospects of this economy than any other."WATCH Brown discuss the Kirk campaign here: