Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Kirk's Ex-Wife Joins the Campaign




    U.S. Rep Mark Kirk, left, celebrates his victory agaisnt Dan Seals with his wife Kimberly Vertolli-Kirk at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel on Tuesday Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Daniel White)

    Just weeks after she threw critical firecrackers toward her ex-husband's senate campaign, Kimberly Vertolli is joining up.

    Vertolli, who told Chicago Magazine that Kirk adviser Dorothy "Dodie" McCracken is like a "Svengali" figure who steers Kirk far right and may have been responsible for the break-up of their marriage, is apparently filling a similar role as her ostensible nemesis, according to Lynn Sweet's blog at the Sun-Times.

    The Kirk campaign told Sweet that McCracken is a consultant. Sweet said Vertolli, who divorced from Kirk in 2009, would act as an adviser. Campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said Vertolli will not have an official role with the campaign, but is a friend whom Mark Kirk trusts and respects, 

    Vertolli's agreement runs counter to her message in Chicago Magazine, where she said she wouldn't support Kirk's campaign as long as McCracken were still involved.

    KV: No, I will not because there’s a person who is a very pernicious force on his team who is wielding a disproportionate amount of negative influence on him. As long as she’s there, I can’t be his moral conscience

    Conscience or not, it appears she's had a change of heart.