Foster drops out, announces support for Duckworth in run for Senate
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster won't run for Senate in 2016.
Instead, the Naperville Democrat threw his support behind U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, in the primary race to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk next year.
"This decision was a difficult one, but it was made much easier by the fact that we have such a terrific candidate in Tammy Duckworth," Foster said.
In the past three weeks, Kirk has ramped up his campaign fundraising efforts in emails asking for support.
A Kirk spokesman declined to comment on Foster's decision to drop out.
But the GOP has stepped up its work to criticize Duckworth's actions as Illinois Veterans Affairs director under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, saying an audit from her work showed the agency didn't properly control employee travel and attendance.
Foster's backing of Duckworth narrows the Democratic field in the race for a Senate seat. U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos was thought to be a contender, but she announced last month she would not join the race. Democratic U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson also has been mentioned as a potential candidate.
"Bill feels like we've got a strong candidate in Duckworth," said Pete Giangreco, who represents Foster and Duckworth. "Tammy's always stood up for middle-class families while Kirk is against the middle class."
As Foster jumps behind Duckworth, he'll serve as a co-chairman of her finance committee.
"Bill's always been a good fundraiser. He's got a lot of people who come with him," Giangreco said. "And with Bustos not running, it looks good for Duckworth."