Kirk again trails Duckworth in fundraising for US Senate bid
CHICAGO -- U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth outraised Illinois Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk for the fourth consecutive quarter, giving her a multimillion-dollar cash advantage in a race that could help determine whether Democrats retake control of the Senate.
Kirk's campaign said late Friday he raised more than $1 million between April and June, finishing with $3.1 million in his campaign fund.
Duckworth raised $2.7 million during the same period and ended the second quarter with $5.5 million cash on hand, her campaign said earlier this week.
Kirk, who's seeking his second Senate term, is considered one of the GOP's most endangered incumbents heading into November's election.
Illinois is a left-leaning state where Democrats typically dominate statewide races. Historically, the party has done particularly well in presidential years; Illinois hasn't voted for a Republican for president since 1988.
Kirk, a former congressman and Naval Reserve officer, has broken with his party on several key issues, supporting same-sex marriage and calling for the Senate to hold hearings on President Obama's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court. He also reversed course on whether he'll support Donald Trump as the GOP's presidential nominee, calling him "too bigoted and racist."
Kirk spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said Friday his "independent voice and thoughtful leadership have resonated" with people in Illinois.
"There's no doubt Harry Reid and the DC insiders are doing everything they can for Duckworth in light of her legal troubles and partisan record," she said. "But Senator Kirk will have the resources and support needed to deliver his message to Illinois voters."
Kirk's campaign has repeatedly blasted Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, over a lawsuit filed by two employees who said she retaliated against them when she was director of the Illinois Veterans' Affairs department.
Her campaign described the case as a nuisance suit, noting it was twice dismissed before it was refiled a third time. Last month, the attorney general's office agreed to settle the case with an agreement that no law was broken. The state also agreed to pay the workers' attorney fees and court costs, which totaled $26,000.
Duckworth's campaign called Kirk's latest fundraising numbers "pathetic." They've criticized Kirk for backing Wall Street and Washington, D.C., lobbyists over working people, saying he takes "a huge amount" of campaign money from them.
"Mark Kirk has spent 16 years in Washington doing whatever the Wall Street banks and corporate special interests that fund his campaigns want him to do," spokesman Matt McGrath said. "Given Kirk's devotion to his wealthy campaign contributors over Illinois families, it's a bit of a surprise to see such pathetic fundraising, but clearly Wall Street banks know when to cut their losses on a lousy investment."
The GOP is defending 24 seats this cycle to Democrats' 10. Democrats need to pick up four or five seats to win back the majority, depending on which party controls the White House and can send the vice president to break a tie.
The Summary and 1st paragraph have been corrected to say "fourth" consecutive quarter, rather than "sixth."