Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is under pressure from conservatives to explain his moderate positions as he moves to the right in hopes of winning them over for his Senate bid.
The shift was captured last week in a debate hosted by the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
The short video below, spliced from the hourlong debate by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, captures contender Patrick Hughes calling Kirk out for voting first for a cap-and-trade bill and then against it.
“How can you have two reasons for doing something?” Hughes asks. “How come your reason changed, congressman, from ‘We need to do this’ to ‘It’s in the interest of my district’ when neither of them are true.”
Kirk’s response, “I know my district far better than you.”The DSCC plans to send out the footage to reporters as an example of him attempting to bend to the tea party faction of the Republican party, and it could surface in ads targeting Kirk down the line.
Kirk asked for Sarah Palin to campaign for him and is vying for endorsements from conservatives.
Just a few years ago Kirk was considered one of the most politically moderate members of the House from either party – with journalists often taking his temperature on key issues to see where American people stood.
Watch the DSCC’s clip:
Late Update: The NRSC points us to an article in The Hill with a recent Tribune poll showing Kirk holds a large lead over the other GOP contenders.
The Democratic field also is split with state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias leading former Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Robinson Jackson 31-17 and a few others trailing in single digits.
“The reality is that with less than six weeks before the primary, Mark Kirk is in the driver’s seat while the Democrats are in the midst of a very divisive primary that is forcing all of their candidates to the left,” said the NRSC’s Brian Walsh. “Good spin should at least have some basis in reality, and in this case what we’re seeing from our Democrat friends is that in Illinois it clearly does not.”