Senate races

Kirk: Trump ‘a net benefit’ for me in Illinois

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Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says Donald Trump will be a net gain to him this fall.

“Donald Trump is kind of a riverboat gamble,” he said Friday, according to CNN. “He won the Illinois primary, in this case we have seen the Republican vote up and the Democratic vote down, so it looks like a net benefit.”

{mosads}Kirk, who is facing a tough reelection bid in November, said that his policy positions separate him from any negative association with Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

“These days I’m probably the best-positioned Republican to weather the institution of Trumpism because I have been voting pro-gay rights and against the gun lobby and solidly pro-choice,” said Kirk, who has vowed he would support a Trump nomination.

“Oftentimes, just to upset [Sen.] John McCain, I remind him in the last election where we shared the ballot together, I ran 16 points ahead of him. I have always run way ahead of the Republican ballot.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who is running against Kirk, on Friday said she relishes the opportunity to link Kirk to Trump.

“I think that Donald Trump is such a polarizing figure and it’s really amazing that to me that Mark Kirk has said he would support Donald Trump and that has been helpful, honestly,” she said.

“People see Donald Trump has made all these racist and misogynist statements and so has Mark Kirk, and that allows us to draw a distinction.”

Democrats are banking that Trump as GOP nominee would spell ruin for vulnerable downballot Republicans like Kirk.

“Donald Trump is officially the straightjacket that Senate Republicans won’t be able to get out of,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in March.

Democrats already had good odds of winning back the Senate majority before Trump’s ascent.

Republicans are defending 24 seats, while Democrats defend only 10. Many GOP senators running for reelection are campaigning in states President Obama won in 2008 and 2012.

Tags Charles Schumer Congress Democrats Donald Trump Illinois John McCain Mark Kirk Republicans Senate

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