Wednesday was a big day for the GOP at the Illinois State Fair as it marked the first "Governor's Day" with a Republican governor in 12 years, but one notable member of the party was missing during the festivities.
Sen. Mark Kirk, who faces a tough election next year to hold onto his Senate seat, did not show up for "Governor's Day," although other important members of the party did, including Gov. Bruce Rauner, GOP State Chairman Tim Schneider and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.
Other candidates for various political offices attended the fair to rouse support for their upcoming elections. Kirk, however, spent the day in Chicago
Kirk's election team told NBC Chicago he worked in his office in the city, attending meetings as he looks to gather support to defeat the Iran treaty.
"Sometimes schedules just work in funny ways, but for Sen. Kirk it's very important to govern," Kevin Artl, Kirk's campaign manager, said. "With the upcoming vote on Iran, he wanted to make sure he's got the facts right."
Kirk has faced difficult elections in the past as a Congressman, but this race could prove his most difficult. But while there have been questions about whether his party supports him wholeheartedly, no one voiced that opinion publicly at the fair.
Durkin called Kirk a "fighter" and said he supported him "100 percent." Schneider also said he took no issue with Kirk staying in Chicago instead of attending the state fair.
"Mark Kirk is doing his job," Schneider said. "He's with the Israeli foreign ministry talking about the Iran deal, and he's working."