Sen. Kirk: Obama’s nominee should get a hearing and vote
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Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.) broke with his party on Monday to back giving President Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing and a vote. 
 
"I also recognize my duty as a senator to either vote in support or opposition to that nominee following a fair and thorough hearing along with a complete and transparent release of all requested information," Kirk wrote in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed. 
 
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Kirk is one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection in November, with Democrats seeing his seat in blue-leaning Illinois as a prime pick-up opportunity.
 
The senator had been under pressure from Democrats to clarify whether he agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill MORE's (R-Ky.) push to keep the court seat vacant until Obama's successor is sworn in. 
 
Kirk's op-ed further highlights the division among Senate Republicans over how to handle the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
 
He is the first vulnerable incumbent to specifically back giving whoever Obama nominates a hearing and a vote, though Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill Lawyer: Kushner is 'the hero' in campaign emails regarding Russia MORE (R-Iowa), who is up for reelection, has not ruled out a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. 
 
Kirk, who is from Obama's home state, added that it is the "right of the president" to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, but that he hopes the president names someone who can "bridge differences" and "find common ground." 
 
"Such a selection by the president would demonstrate a break from the rancor and partisanship of Washington and a real commitment to a new beginning even as his own term nears its end," he added. 
 
But his comments come as many other vulnerable Republicans have rallied around McConnell's strategy and suggested that Democrats are trying to leapfrog the American people by filling the seat.
 
 
Democrats argue that Republicans are shirking their constitutional duties and have pledged to use the fight as fodder on the campaign trail.