Sen. Joe Manchin is expected to fly to Chicago on Friday, hoping to visit Sen. Mark Kirk in the hospital, and tells the Chicago Tribune that even if he doesn’t get in to see him, he wants to lend support.
Manchin and Kirk planned to sit side-by-side at the State of the Union address until Kirk suffered a stroke over the weekend. Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, joined the senate at the same time as Kirk and the two have become good friends, albeit from different party affiliations.
Manchin released this statement earlier this week:
“Senator Mark Kirk is my dear friend and truly a great American, so when I left him a message today, I told him that he can’t take too much time off because the American people and I truly need him here to help change Washington and our country for the better. While I’ll miss him at the State of Union tomorrow night, I promised Mark that I will keep his seat warm.”
Likewise Chicago Congressman Mike Quigley, who just returned from a trip to Poland with Sen. Kirk, tells Ward Room, “people say they want to be bi-partisan.”
Quigley, in Chicago Thursday to announce the donation of $4 million in computers and printers to Chicago schools, adds he saw no sign of Kirk suffering from poor health during the trip.
“He never faltered, he was articulate, he did a very good job with a tough itinerary."
Quigley said he hopes “that strength will help him in his recovery and he will be back sooner than later and stronger.”
The congressman said he is waiting for the signal from Kirk’s staff that he is accepting visitors.