Kirk Would Take 'Hard Look' if Special Election in Illinois

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said he would take a "hard look" at running for Illinois's open Senate seat should the state legislature bow to national Democratic leaders and approve a special election to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate.

"I'll take a look at it...I think it's putting the cart before the horse right now," Kirk said in a phone interview Wednesday. The four-term Congressman, who was just election to a fifth in November, said though that the Illinois legislature should focus on removing scandal-plagued Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) before considering legislation to approve a special election.

Obama, along with state and national leaders, has endorsed a special election to fill the vacant seat following Obama's resignation.

Kirk said that his recent victory over Democrat Dan Seals in a competitive reelection contest would position him well to run in a special election. "The whole team is still together, he said, while conceding that Illinois still favors Democrats statewide. "Obviously, we just fought a big race for Congress."

"A special election would put the issue of corruption front and center," said Kirk, who encouraged state officials to back U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to the maximum degree, as well as seize the opportunity to pass aggressive state ethics reforms.

"The candidate who was articulating a vision that was most behind reform and prosecution of corrupt officials would do well," he added.

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