Kirk to run for Senate

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is telling people that he will run for the Senate, just hours after it was reported state Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) would not seek the office.

Kirk seemed a good bet early on to enter the race, but when the popular Madigan began entertaining the possibility, he seemed to back off.

Now GOP sources say, with Madigan out, Kirk is ready to run for the Senate seat.

Kirk would be the second big recruiting win in two days for the GOP, which on Tuesday saw New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) resign her current office to weigh an expected Senate campaign.

Kirk is potentially the only Republican in Illinois who would start out the Senate race in a good position to win it. He has already banked more than $1 million for the 2010 election cycle, despite having to spend heavily to fend off tough challenges in his House district.