The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsed Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s bid to unseat incumbent Republican Mark Kirk in the U.S. Senate Friday. The news comes just hours after the Chicago Tribune editorial board also endorsed Duckworth.
The Sun-Times endorsement cites Duckworth’s achievements in Congress and credits the combat veteran’s “remarkable life story,” which includes losing both legs co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter over Iraq in 2004 and recovering to earn a Ph.D in political science.
The editorial board reportedly endorsed Duckworth “in the hope that she will become real leader in Washington” who can deliver results “for both Illinois and the nation.”
The endorsement also includes some sharp criticism of Kirk, who the board says “has long been a mystery."
The Sun-Times faults Kirk for being “so careless in his words and claims,” pointing to an August interview where Kirk referred to President Barack Obama as “the drug dealer in chief” for making a $400 million cash payment to Iran that was tied to the release of American prisoners.
Additionally, the Sun-Times faults Kirk for “proposing neat and tidy solutions to enormously difficult international challenges.” The paper references Kirk's proposal during a Chicago Tribune editorial board endorsement session to create “one big refugee center” in Jordan for Syrian refugees, despite the fact the country has “signaled no enthusiasm for such a scheme."
The Sun-Times also criticizes the Republican-controlled Senate for being an ineffectual, “debased body” that failed to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by deceased former Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year.
“Mark Kirk has had his chance, and so too has the Senate’s Republican majority,” the editorial board wrote. “Tammy Duckworth represents a positive change that can’t come soon enough."
In response to the Tribune's earlier announcement endorsing Duckworth, Kirk said it was a "low blow and cheap shot" that is "not based on fact or reality."
"The indisputable truth is that while Cong. Duckworth has been rated as one of the least effective members of Congress, Senator Mark Kirk has been one of the most successful," Kirk spokesman Kevin Artl said in a statement. "Kirk has created bi-partisan support to keep the Export-Import Bank open, saving over 40,000 Illinois jobs, he secured millions in funding for law enforcement to crack down on gang violence and he is viewed as a national leader when he bucked his own party and said he could not support Donald Trump."
"Illinois families want results -- not rhetoric -- and that's what Sen. Kirk delivers," Artl added.