Kirk Touts His Moderate Republican Attributes - NBC Chicago

Kirk Touts His Moderate Republican Attributes

Assails the bridge to nowhere, talks up stem cell support



    Celebrate This Holiday Season in Lively St. Charles
    U.S. Congressman Mark Kirk greets the crowd in Wheeling, Ill. as he accepts the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. Senate seat, on Tuesday Feb. 2, 2010.

    Mark Kirk isn’t trying to hide his political affiliation, despite the fact that Republicans don't do well in Illinois.

    His first general election advertisement begins with a simple statement.

    “Hi, I’m Mark Kirk, an independent-minded Republican for senate,” Kirk says.

    That he opened with a line about his political affiliation speaks volumes about what sort of political climate is circulating in Illinois these days, according to Jonathon Martin at Politico.

    “But with former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich under indictment, the calculation among Republicans appears to be that there's now an upside to embracing a label that distinguishes them from a majority party embroiled in scandal,” Martin writes about the ad playing in a Democratic stronghold.

    The calculation here is that the Democratic brand is so injured that being a Republican is no longer seen as a detriment.

    Beyond that assessment, it appears that Kirk has decided not to tack conservative.

    Much speculation swirled over whether Kirk would court the endorsement of Sarah Palin, or if he would attempt to ride the Tea Party wave and package himself like a Scott Brown.

    But Kirk says flatly that he rejected the “Bridge to Nowhere” that dogged Palin, and touted his record of supporting stem cell research, a moderate gamble.

    It will be interesting to see how embattled Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias will respond.