Reports: Duckworth will consider Senate run

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, is weighing a run for U.S. Senate, reports say.

If nominated as the Democrat for the 2016 Senate race, Duckworth would be lined up to take on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican who told the Daily Herald this year that opponents would face "quite a hill to climb."

Duckworth is exploring "the possibility" of a run, she told the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

The matchup would add another element of intrigue to an Illinois Senate race that's already likely to be one of the country's most-watched. Both Duckworth and Kirk are military veterans. Duckworth is on maternity leave following the birth of her daughter.

Duckworth told Roll Call she is "getting ready to get back to work in a few weeks, and I'm starting to listen to folks throughout the state, listen to Illinois families about the challenges they're facing, listen to my friends and closest advisers and taking a real serious look at 2016."

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat, is also considering a bid.

Kirk suffered a serious stroke in 2012 but told the Daily Herald: "No frickin' way am I going to retire."

Duckworth and Kirk created political sparks last summer when Duckworth, at a Democratic rally, compared companies who are looking to leave the U.S. to save on taxes to military deserters.

"I'm an old soldier at heart and let me tell you, we have a word for people who abandon their nation, who change their allegiance. And there's nothing worse than a deserter," Duckworth said.

The next day, Kirk responded.

"If we use comments like 'deserter' and 'traitor,' that normally those crimes have capital punishment consequences, I would say that that rhetoric is probably too overblown for a country that wants to stick together and hang together," Kirk said.

Speculation about a Duckworth Senate run began before her first term in Congress ended.

"I am spending as much time as I can discouraging people from talking about it because I'm barely through my first term," she told the Daily Herald Editorial Board before November's election. "I just get a lot of folks who like to talk. You can be the flavor of the month. There will be a different flavor next month."

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