Though First Lady Michelle Obama will almost certainly not be running for the U.S. Senate in 2016, that doesn't mean a Republican senator up for re-election isn't willing to invoke her name in fundraising appeals.
As the Chicago Sun-Times first reported Thursday, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) cited the "press and rumor mills" when asking donors for money to build up an advantage against the specter of an Obama challenge.
"The press and rumor mills ponder the ‘will she or won’t she’ question with regard to Michelle Obama...and the circumstances (and denials) are reminiscent of 1999 when First Lady Hillary Clinton was the subject of whirlwind speculation about a run for the United States Senate," he wrote in a Sept. 5 fundraising letter.
"Whether or not you choose to believe this most recent rumor, there is no doubt the Illinois Senate race will be one of the most closely watched and hotly contested races in the country in 2016," Kirk added.
The problem is that Kirk's letter doesn't appear to have a basis in reality. When President Barack Obama was asked on “Live With Kelly and Michael,” about the possibility of his wife seeking elected office, he responded, “One thing I can promise you is that Michelle will not run for office.”
Michelle Obama confirmed that answer, telling ABC’s Robin Roberts that her "next act" will not be a political one.
To top it all off, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that she was "100 percent positive" that Obama will never run for elected office.
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) has been mentioned as a potential Kirk challenger, so she may start appearing in his fundraising solicitations as 2016 nears.