News & Election Videos

June 25, 2009

Kirk sounding like a Senate candidate

Make sure to check out my colleague Lisa Lerer’s report on how many moderate-to-conservative House Democrats are worried scared about the upcoming vote on the controversial energy and climate change bill.  (Republicans are already planning to use this vote against Democrats representing blue-collar and conservative-minded districts.)

One other thing of note in her report: Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the subject of speculation over whether he’ll run for the Senate, sounds like he has his mind on a statewide campaign.

Kirk remains on the fence [on the bill], saying he has concerns about the lack of funding for nuclear energy and coal interests in his state.

“We don’t want to de-industrialize Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin,” Kirk said after a meeting with Pelosi and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the sponsors of the legislation.

Kirk’s affluent suburban Chicago district has next-to-no industrial presence and is quite environmentally-conscious.  If he was looking to win over his constituents back home, he'd probably be more inclined to support the legislation. 

But the southern part of the state is home to vast coal deposits – and the legislation is viewed skeptically by many downstate voters whose support he’ll need to defeat a Democrat in a 2010 Senate race.  His concern about the state's industrial base certainly suggests he's leaning towards a Senate campaign.