Thursday, April 16, 2009

Congressman Mark Kirk Appears at City Club, But Mum on Future Election Plans

Mark Kirk addressed a capacity crowd at Chicago's City Club yesterday over lunch to discuss a wide variety of issues, ranging from the drug trade in Afghanistan to immigration, the economy to Illinois political ethics. Interestingly, he spent the first five minutes speaking alternately in Spanish and English, perhaps to counter the fact that a small group of immigration protesters (it looked to be the bussed-in variety) milled around outside the restaurant. (I noted that they all packed up as soon as Kirk started speaking inside; I guess they weren't being paid overtime).

Kirk sounded very much like a guy who would be a great candidate for U.S. Senate or Governor if he declines to run again in Illinois' 10th Congressional District. Even the protesters' signs outside made reference to Kirk's potential statewide election bid. For my money, if you are attracting this kind of attention, it's clear you are a serious consideration for either of these offices. Kirk is raising money like he's serious, but he's always been a prolific fundraiser, and he reports raising over $690,000 in the first quarter of 2009.

After snarfing down some Maggiano's pasta, I hung out in the back of the room trying to pump Kirk staffers for information on Kirk's intentions. I was in good company, and noted that Rick Pearson from the Tribune was there along with Andy Shaw and others. But, no one was leaking a word, not even to Team America. Kirk did some interviews with the T.V. media after his speech, but he told them zippo, as well.

Kirk has indicated he'll make a decision before the end of the month. If he decides not to run for Congress again, the 10th will be thrown into a free-for-all, at least on the Dem side. It'll be fun to watch all the crabs trying to climb over each other to get out of the bucket. But it won't make up for losing a great congressman, if that happens. The 10th's loss will hopefully be the State's gain, however; Illinois needs Mark Kirk now like never before.


Anonymous said...

Lots of mixed feelings about all of this, TA. Yes, IL needs what Mark Kirk offers. The Congress needs him more, however. He needs to weigh every option and he's doing that right now.
The freaks who were outside the restaurant yesterday came, courtesy of SEIU and other fringe groups. Wonder how they got out of their day jobs, or if they have jobs. Protesting seems to be their full time occupation.
As to who would lead the Democrat field if our Congressman decided to toss it away, I'd say that Garrett would be the odds-on favorite to lead that bunch of hopefuls. Seals wouldn't get a nod from any of his once devoted fan base. I'm sure others would want to try it as well, but her popularity with her many followers would give her the edge. Are we having fun yet?

Anonymous said...

If Rep. Kirk runs, statewide, he’ll at least win the primary, since he’s moderate. In 2008, Dr. Sauerberg was moderate, and he won his primary. In 2006, then-Treasurer Topinka was moderate, and she won her primary.

Phil Collins

Anonymous said...

I don't know Phil, maybe he'll win because he's the best candidate.

Anonymous said...

Their busses were parked around the corner. How is that for spontaneous?

Louis G. Atsaves

Anonymous said...

Phil might be right that Kirk could win the Primary. It's not the Primary that will get him to his destination. This is still the Democrats time to shine in their eyes. This is Illinois, for heaven's sake, and it's the home to the guy who presently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There's a reality that I think some in the party just don't want to deal with right now. Yes, Kirk would make a great Governor and an even finer US Senator. I just don't see this as his time. If you recall, Durbin served a longer time in the House before he became our Senator. Kirk is young, he has time. I hope he weighs his options carefully.

Anonymous said...

Congressman Kirk raised $700k for a House race with practically no opponent. Imagine the money he will raise if he enters a statewide race with everything on the line.

The time for criticism and second guessing is nearly over people.....the time for support and loyalty to something larger than your blogging bliss is at hand.

Anonymous said...

To Anon, he raised 700k last time too. You could give the state party enough viagra to fill the Dirksen Senate Office that used to belong to the REPUBLICAN senator, peter fitzgerald, and the party would still not get it up in november and be politically impotent.

10 years ago this was safe Republican territory, since then it's fallen into enemy hands. McKenna has earned a political firing squad. And just wait until Obama starts his fundraising machine again and turns on Mark if you care about fundraising.

Anonymous said...

As for 2nd guessing, there couldn't be a better time to be a Democrat in this state. They have crushed us because of how badly Hastert screwed up Congress and how badly the rest of the mob let things get here. We need new leaders that will take on Democrats everywhere and not let fake tan bimbos like Susan Garret and Karen May play us.

FanOfKingLouisAstevesEllenSlayer (FOKLAES)