Rauner's and Kirk's history with Mike Pence

Republican vice presidential pick and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has sparred with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner over the neighboring states' economics and was once criticized by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who nevertheless calls him a good choice.

"I hope he gets the nod," Kirk, who served in the U.S. House with Pence, told Bloomberg before the news broke. "I love Mike. He was the leader of the conservatives and I was the leader of the moderates. And we had a mutual admiration society."

A Kirk spokeswoman, though, said the senator still won't support the ticket after saying last month Trump doesn't have the "temperament necessary" to be president.

Rauner had little more to say about presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump and his ticket as the party's convention is about to begin in Cleveland.

Rauner last year said in an interview: "Believe me, I am going to rip - try to rip - the economic guts out of Indiana. I am one of the baddest, you know, enemies anybody can have."

A Pence spokeswoman retorted: "We'll stack Indiana's low taxes, triple A credit rating and excellent business climate against those of any other state any time."

Neither Rauner nor Kirk are set to attend the convention next week.

Kirk, of Highland Park, faces a tough re-election challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, and a spokesman for the Illinois Democratic Party was critical of his comments about Pence.

"Kirk's enthusiasm for Pence is all anyone needs to know about him: no matter how much he tries to change his stripes in an election year, he's a typical Republican, through and through," spokesman Sean Savett said.

Kirk criticized Pence last year when the Indiana governor signed the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"We should not enshrine bigotry under the cover of religion. It's not just bad practice - it's un-American," Kirk said then.

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