Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
IL 10: Rep. Mark Kirk is running for Senate, leaving an open seat.
Primary: February 2, 2010
Location:North Shore, Chicago
Days until the election: 26
(CNN) - According to prominent political analyst Charlie Cook, this is one of the best shots Democrats have to pick up a seat in the House of Representatives. Incumbent Rep. Mark Kirk (R) is running for Senate in Illinois, leaving an open seat in a left-leaning district. Also a bonus to the Dems, their candidate, Dan Seals, has run for this seat twice before and has a base and solid recognition in the district.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama is helping out the man who's hoping to keep Obama's old Senate seat in Democratic hands.
The president headlines a fundraiser Thursday afternoon in Chicago for Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee for Senate. Giannoulias faces off in November against five-term Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, in a race that recent polls indicate is all tied up.
Giannoulias has seen his bid for the Senate rocked by the controversy over his family's bank, which was taken over by federal regulators earlier this year. Prior to his statewide election victory in 2006, Giannoulias worked at his family's Broadway Bank. Republicans have had a field day attacking the Democratic nominee over the bank, including questioning what they call loans to "unsavory characters and convicted felons."
Kirk had his own problems. This spring he apologized for mischaracterizing portions of his 21-year military career, and the Pentagon confirmed that the candidate was counseled by the military twice in the last two years for violating rules that bar members of the armed services from partisan political activities. He also ran into trouble for embellishing his experience as a teacher.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican hoping to capture President Obama's old Senate seat, raised $2.3 million dollars in the 2nd quarter, his campaign said Thursday.
It is the most successful quarter to date for the five-term congressman who apologized recently for mischaracterizing his military record.
The 2nd quarter totals include a more than $1 million haul in month of June, brought in as the controversy over the candidate's military record was unfolding.
"We are humbled by the outpouring of support from families across Illinois," Kirk campaign spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement. "With unemployment in Illinois higher than the national average, we need leaders who will turn our economy around and put Illinois back to work."
Washington (CNN) – Less than twenty-four hours after his admission that he misrepresented his military record, the campaign of Senate hopeful Mark Kirk has released two ads that slam his Democratic opponent.
Kirk, the Republican nominee hoping to capture President Obama's old Senate seat, admitted during a news conference Tuesday that he had mischaracterized his military record.
"I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again," Kirk said.
But now his campaign is striking back at Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat who earlier this year waged a public relations battle of his own following the failure of a bank owned by his family.
Updated 1:00 p.m.: Read the Giannoulias campaign response after the jump.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican hoping to capture President Obama's old Senate seat in November, apologized Tuesday for mischaracterizing his military record.
"I've made mistakes when characterizing certain aspects of my accomplishments and experiences. I apologize for my mistakes and I pledge to correct any errors. I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again," Kirk said.
The initial controversy began weeks ago, after his Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, raised questions about a naval award Kirk claimed to have received. The Kirk campaign and the candidate himself falsely claimed he was awarded the Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year Award – a prestigious honor that is given to only one individual a year.
Six days after the allegations came to light, Kirk apologized to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, saying the discrepancies were the result of trying to communicate his accomplishments in "civilian-speak."
(CNN) - In a timeline, the Kirk for Senate campaign states Rep. Kirk's comments during the Blagojevich controversy were consistent with his role as a congressman and permissible by military rules regardless of being on active duty.
They also say Department of Defense rules do allow for some civilian political activities - particularly while in civilian clothes and acting in a civilian capacity outside of military facilities. Kirk did not make any statements during deployments to Afghanistan, according to the campaign.
Kirk campaign press secretary Kirsten Kukowski also released the following statement:
"These questions have been addressed by the campaign in the past and had there been any issues documented in Congressman Kirk's military record, the Department of Defense would not have issued a second waiver for his deployment to Afghanistan. The campaign has made all of the Congressman's military fitness reports available for review and no concerns were documented."
The statement continued:
"The reality is that voters will have a clear contrast on Election Day between someone who served honorably as a legislator and service member and someone who lost millions of dollars of other people's money due to his recklessness and incompetence. Putting all of the posturing aside, Alexi Giannoulias represents the very same brand of politics that led to corruption, waste, abuse, historic debt and 11-percent unemployment. Voters in Illinois want a change and will stand with Mark Kirk, a thoughtful, independent leader who has a track record of delivering for the state."
Washington (CNN) – Republican Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois was counseled by the military twice in the last two years for violating rules that bar members of the armed services from partisan political activities, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.
Kirk is running for President Obama's former Senate seat. He recently apologized for mischaracterizing portions of his 21-year military career.
In December 2008, as then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich fought accusations that he tried to sell the Senate seat after Obama's election, Kirk "participated in video discussions in the media" while on active duty, according to a statement from Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. April Cunningham.
(CNN) – Six days after Republican Rep. Mark Kirk first admitted to having mischaracterized portions of his 21-year long military record, the Illinois Senate candidate issued an apology and said it was the result of trying to communicate his accomplishments in "civilian-speak."
"I am sorry, absolutely," Kirk told the Chicago Tribune editorial board Thursday. "You should speak with utter precision. You should stand on the documented military record."
Kirk also pledged to speak more clearly about his tenure in the Navy going forward and said he would soon release military fitness reports that demonstrate his years of continuous service.
But in the same interview, Kirk acknowledged other mischaracterizations committed by his campaign and congressional office - first when campaign promotional materials described him as having faced fire while flying aboard a reconnaissance plane over Iraq in 2000 and second when a 2009 letter to constituents said he was a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.
Kirk told the paper he's actually not sure if he was fired upon in Iraq during the 2000 mission and said that he did not serve in Desert Storm.
Updated with Kirk Campaign response
(CNN) - When Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal admitted last month to making misstatements about his military service, it took at least a week for the Democratic Senate candidate to move past the story.
Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, who admitted over the weekend to falsely claiming he won the Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year Award, is now facing the same scrutiny. Kirk is the GOP nominee for the Senate seat held by President Barack Obama.
Kirk's acknowledgment about claiming he won the award for his service during the Kosovo conflict 10 years ago came after his Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, raised questions about it with The Washington Post. Kirk highlighted the claim on both his congressional and campaign websites, and CSPAN footage from 2002 shows the Republican himself stating as much.
Kirk said in a blog post Sunday that his unit was instead the recipient of the Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award, given by The National Military Intelligence Association, which is a professional group. Kirk characterized the mix-up as inadvertent and said it was a "disgrace" that Giannoulias was trying to make political hay out of it.
But over the past four days, Kirk has been barraged by a series of additional allegations of misstatements about his two decades of service in the Navy and a string of newspaper editorials that question his honesty.
In a Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Wednesday, the paper ticked through several other problematic Kirk claims that have since come to light, including a statement on a campaign web video that he "command[s] the war room of the Pentagon."
(CNN) – The Republican vying for President Barack Obama's former Senate seat admitted he has previously mischaracterized an aspect of his lengthy service in the United States Navy.
The admission Sunday came after Kirk's opponent in the divisive Senate race, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, raised questions with the Washington Post about the Intelligence Officer of the Year Award Kirk claimed to have received during his service in the Kosovo conflict 10 years ago.
In a post on his blog Sunday, Kirk said he and his staff discovered last week that they had inadvertently misidentified the award in his official biography and on other occasions. Kirk was instead issued the Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award – an honor Kirk said is as distinguished as that of Intelligence Officer of the Year.
The National Military Intelligence Association, a professional group, issued Kirk and each member of his unit the award for "exceptional achievements of an outstanding Naval Intelligence career professional."
"My corrected biography accurately shows I received the United States Navy Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award – as the leader of an ad-hoc intelligence effort supporting four EA-6B Prowler electronic attack squadrons as part of Operation Allied Force – instead of Intelligence Officer of the Year. I accepted the Taylor Intelligence Award (named after the head of Navy intelligence in World War II) as the leader of an intelligence section that I assembled and led. There is no hierarchy between these awards as the Taylor Intelligence Award is equally distinguished," Kirk said.