09/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Beth Coulson Set To Run For Mark Kirk's Congressional Seat

The GOP may be getting its wish in the closely-contested race to replace U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk in Congress.

State Rep. Beth Coulson, a Glenview Republican dubbed "the most liberal Republican in the field," has confirmed that she's going to run for the North Shore Congressional seat Kirk is vacating in order to run for the Senate.

"I think I bring an expertise in health care to Washington at a time when we need it," Coulson, a physical therapist and Chicago Medical School professor, told Crain's political columnist Greg Hinz.

Coulson's plans were first reported by Team America and were confirmed by Capitol Fax. Her entrance adds another name to a potentially crowded GOP field.

According to a Swing State Project report flagged by Progress Illinois, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the National Republican Congressional Committee recruitment chair, was in town Saturday to meet with potential candidates, including attorney Bill Cadigan, a former aide to Kirk's predecessor, ex-Rep. Jon Porter, and businessmen Dick Green and Bob Dold. A handful of other names have also been floated as possible GOP candidates.

On the Democratic side, State Rep. Julie Hamos, attorney Elliot Richardson and Dan Seals, the party's 2006 and 2008 nominee, are all planning to run. A recent poll commissioned by the Seals campaign showed him to have a wide lead over both candidates in a hypothetical primary.