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Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Release the McCracken! "Svengali Figure" Influences Kirk, Says Ex

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Release the McCracken! "Svengali Figure" Influences Kirk, Says Ex
Kirk's Rough Week | Media discovery of Mark Kirk's over-exaggerated military record lead him to go on the defensive, quoting "misquotes" and "misremembering" for the embellishments.

Mark Kirk is influenced by a "Svengali figure" who pulls the candidate to the right and undermines his moral compass, according to an interview Kirk's ex-wife gave to Chicago Magazine.

Kimberly Vertolli, who was married to Kirk for eight years before their divorce in June '09, says Kirk's former campaign manager, Dorothy "Dodie" McCracken is to blame for Kirk's support of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- and was a key figure in splitting the couple.

From the interview:

CF: So at this moment, with that promise, is it your intention to support him and campaign for him?

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.

CF: Who is that person?

KV: Her name is Dodie McCracken. She is the only member of Mark’s staff who was not invited to our wedding back in 2001. She acts as this kind of Svengali figure in his life. She had to go away.

CF: Why did she have to go away?

KV: Because Mark could either stay married to me, or she could find another place. But there wasn’t enough room for the two of us to stay in Mark’s life.

CF: Did she come back on the scene after you were divorced?

KV: Unfortunately, she never left. When Mark decided to run for the Senate, she shifted most of her attention [from other clients] to trying to control Mark and the direction of Mark’s campaign.

Vertolli refused to characterize Kirk's relationship with McCracken. But she did say:

CF: Was it political differences that contributed to you and Mark divorcing?

KV: I think that if Dodie McCracken had not continued to be in our lives, we probably would still be married.

Asked about whether Kirk was gay, Vertolli said gay wasn't "an accurate explanation," but didn't outright deny it. 

Read the entire interview, totally worth the click.

More about McCracken here, here and here. In other news, she has only 13 LinkedIn connections. So. There's that.

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