* New York Times Magazine…
Unendorsing Trump was perhaps a more politically viable option for Kirk than for his fellow endangered Republican senators. “I’m probably the only one around here who absolutely embraces the M-word,” [Sen. Mark Kirk] said, referring to “moderate.”
And as the Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Rich Miller recently wrote, in Illinois “independent suburban women have been the deciding factor in just about every statewide race since 1990.” Given Trump’s 70 percent disapproval rating among women over all, criticizing the nominee may prove not only useful to Kirk, but also — especially against a female opponent like Duckworth — imperative.
That’s true, but suburban women can be more complicated than just that.
* For instance…
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk may frequently be cited as among the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, but the national organization backing GOP Senate candidates says it’s planning to pour money into his race against Democrat Tammy Duckworth. […]
[NRSC Executive Director Ward Baker] declined to reveal how much the group was willing to invest, saying he wouldn’t disclose strategy. In Kirk’s 2010 race, the NRSC pledged $3.4 million.
“2010 was a different environment. Yesterday was a different day. I try to win a day at a time,” Baker told POLITICO Illinois. “Kirk has always run a suburban strategy. Senator Kirk has never had an easy race. The suburban strategy is how you’ll win. He’s the only candidate we knew who could win this race.” […]
Recent terror attacks in Europe and questions about national security strengthen Kirk’s hand in the race, Baker argued. Kirk, a former Naval intelligence officer, has called for a national moratorium on allowing Syrian refugees into the country, opposed President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, and opposed the closing of Guantanamo Bay.
“It helps him a lot. Do you want someone who has always been a hawk and at the forefront of protecting America? Or someone who supported closing Gitmo [allowing] Syrian refugees into Illinois and backed the Iran deal?” he said. “She’s a dove, he’s a hawk.”
I’ll believe the money when I see it. So far, the NRSC has treated Kirk like a red-headed stepchild.
In 2004, George W. Bush won reelection by mitigating the loss of the women’s vote to Democrat John Kerry to less than 10 percentage points. He did this, in part, by scaring “security moms” not to change horses mid-war.
If the absolute craziness in the world and in the nation the past few weeks continues through November and people truly start to freak out, then Sen. Kirk could capitalize on the fears of “security moms.” It’s probably his best hope.