Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Speculation Builds on Michelle Obama Senate Run

First Lady could be positioning herself for a run at Mark Kirk's seat in 2016

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    First lady Michelle Obama meets with issue experts about international girls' education, Thursday, May 22, 2014, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    FLOTUS for Senate?

    It wasn't that long ago that such a slogan would seem absurd, but political wags are beginning to wonder whether Michelle Obama is mulling a run for Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk's seat in 2016.

    A Thursday column in Reuters suggests that Obama would be the only candidate with a large enough profile to unseat the Republican.

    The column also points to Obama's recent willingness to debate the merits of her school lunch program with Republicans, a trip to China, fundraising and her stance on the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as other signs that her tone is turning more political.

    It's not the first time Obama has been mentioned as a potential senatorial candidate, but that speculation has always focused beyond 2016. And the First Lady herself has never publicly indicated any interest in seeking political office.

    But just like a senator named Barack Obama who decided to run for president in 2008 when many thought he should wait his turn, politics are often about timing.

    She would quickly become the most recognizable face in the Senate. Her fame and fundraising ability would command deference in a body that normally operates on seniority. Whether the recent elevation of her profile suggests a plan to run is unclear, but she will be well positioned should she jump in. -- Reuters

    There's also that 2012 Public Polling Policy survey showing the first lady picking up 51 percent of the vote against Kirk's 40 percent if they were to run.

    Your move, FLOTUS.