Lake sheriff backs Kirk opponent for U.S. Senate

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran will back U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's opponent in the March primary, splitting with the home-county Republican seeking a second term in the Senate.

GOP Senate hopeful James Marter of Oswego announced the endorsement by Curran on Tuesday.

"Mark Kirk may have spent significant time attending to the needs of the Cook County law enforcement, but has done nothing for the Lake County sheriff's office," Curran said in a statement.

The comment drew a swift rebuke from Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who backs Kirk. Lawlor said Kirk's visits after serious flooding a few years ago and efforts on fighting heroin abuse show he's connected to the county where he lives, in Highland Park.

"Since I've been chairman, he's been helpful and very available," Lawlor said.

Marter is a first-time Senate candidate, technology consultant and Kirk's chief primary competition. Curran's endorsement comes as the candidate looks to find a footing against the well-established incumbent.

"I wanted to be the first elected official in the state of Illinois to endorse James Marter for Senate," Curran said.

Kirk recently held a major fundraiser with Ron Gidwitz, a Joliet businessman who earlier this year retracted a statement that Kirk couldn't win re-election.

Mark Kirk
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