Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkThe way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump ObamaCare repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood Leaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood MORE (R-Ill.) said Tuesday he will in fact campaign for Republican Senate candidate Jim Oberweis, despite earlier refusing because of his relationship with incumbent Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators warn of 'dangerous' cuts to International Affairs Budget MORE (D).
“I will be campaigning for Jim Oberweis,” Kirk told the Illinois Radio Network.
“I’m going to be protecting my relationship with Dick and not launching into a partisan jihad that hurts our partnership to both pull together for Illinois,” he said then.
Kirk and Durbin have an unusually strong relationship. Durbin helped greet Kirk on the steps when he returned to the Capitol last year after a stroke.
Kirk is now changing his tune on Oberweis but says his standing with Durbin won’t be harmed.
“He and I have a very good relationship," Kirk said on Tuesday. "He expects that in a general election that I would be backing the Republican candidate.”
Oberweis, a chairman of a dairy company, is a long-shot to beat Durbin, who had a 14-point lead in a Rasmussen poll last week.
Kirk himself is likely to be a Democratic target in blue Illinois in 2016.