Veterans Group Drops Illinois Ad Buy Supporting Duckworth

Duckworth is running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In response to an ad from Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk's re-election campaign hitting his likely opponent in November, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, for supporting Syrian refugees, a liberal veterans' group is making its first Illinois Senate ad buy for her.  

Earlier this week, Kirk's campaign released an ad criticizing Duckworth's position on allowing refugees from Syria into the U.S. The campaign is spending slightly more than $800,000 to show the ad across the state on broadcast and cable. Kirk's ad ends by asking who do voters trust to protect their family, and answering by saying Kirk's name.  

On Friday, VoteVets Action Fund, a liberal 501(c)(4), announced a $600,000 ad buy that will run across the state. It touts Duckworth's ability to pilot a Black Hawk helicopter.  

"After she lost her legs in service to her country, she still served 10 more years in the Illinois National Guard," says the narrator, Michael Terranova, who the ad says is a Marine Corps veteran from Chicago.  

In turn, the ad hits Kirk for votes he made in the Senate regarding veterans. "You voted against fixing equipment that keeps guys like me safe in the field," Terranova says in the ad. "And against expanding our veterans' benefits when we get home."  

The ad closes with Terranova saying he trusts Duckworth and that "it's not even close."  

But an official with the Kirk campaign said that the vote first cited was for an amendment that would have transferred $3.6 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds for quality of life enhancements for U.S. service members, which Kirk voted against when he was in the House.  

"I think that the quality of life enhancement sounds a lot different from equipment that keeps soldiers out in the field safe," the Kirk official said. In addition, Kirk, a former Naval Reserve intelligence officer, voted for the overall resolution after he voted against the amendment.  

Duckworth is seen as Kirk's likely opponent after her Democratic primary against former Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp and State Sen. Napoleon Harris, which will be on March 15.  

Contact Garcia at EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @EricMGarcia