Illinois state Sen. Susan Garrett (D) tells the Pioneer Press that she is being encouraged by national Democrats to enter the race against Rep. Mark KirkMark KirkWhy Qatar Is a problem for Washington Taking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see MORE (R-Ill.).

"I'm giving it serious consideration, but it's been difficult for me because I love my job as a state senator," Garrett told the paper. "Yet, I understand the opportunity to provide representation to my constituents at the federal level."

Garrett said she could make her decision within a month. She acknowledged that the opportunity would be much more attractive if Kirk were to run for statewide office, such as for President Obama