Though he faces a tough re-election race, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) claims to be confident that Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket will actually improve his chances of keeping his seat.
“Donald Trump is kind of a riverboat gamble,” Kirk told CNN on Friday. “He won the Illinois primary, in this case we have seen the Republican vote up and the Democratic vote down, so it looks like it’s a net benefit.”
While Kirk has said he would endorse Trump if he becomes the nominee, he maintained that Republican voters in Illinois would be able to distinguish his own platform from the real estate mogul’s.
“These days I’m probably the best-positioned Republican to weather the institution of Trumpism because I have been voting pro-gay rights and against the gun lobby and solidly pro-choice,” Kirk said in the CNN interview.
Kirk’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), seemed perfectly content to link the two Republicans.
“I think that Donald Trump is such a polarizing figure and it’s really amazing that to me that Mark Kirk has said he would support Donald Trump and that has been helpful, honestly,” Duckworth told CNN.
“People see Donald Trump has made all these racist and misogynist statements and so has Mark Kirk, and that allows us to draw a distinction,” she continued.