ill-senate

Republicans Spending Early to Boost Chances to Keep Senate

Kirk has spent some of his campaign's cash on an early bio ad to aid his re-election hopes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Republicans look to defend their newfound Senate majority in 2016, early television and digital spending has more than quadrupled from this same point last cycle, a CQ Roll Call analysis shows.  

More than a year out from Election Day 2016, Republican incumbents and GOP-aligned outside groups have shelled out at least $13.3 million to boost their re-election prospects and attack potential Democratic challengers in Senate contests across the map. That's seven times more than the $1.9 million Republicans spent by this point last cycle — when the GOP was looking to win the Senate majority for the first time since 2006.  

Mark Kirk: 'No Frickin' Way Am I Retiring'

Kirk says he'll run for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., has a message for anyone who doubts his will or appetite for a second term.  

"No frickin' way am I retiring," he told CQ Roll Call in an exclusive interview Thursday from his Capitol Hill office, following some speculation  in local press over  the senator's future and his shifting political operation. "With all this rehab, for me just to walk was a huge effort. I had to re-learn how to walk again after the stroke. And all the rehab and all the effort shows the mental determination times 10 to keep serving."  

The Many Reasons Mark Kirk Won't Stump for Oberweis

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk's decision not to campaign this year against his in-state Democratic colleague should come as no surprise.  

While Kirk has said he will support the Republican ticket in November and has committed to actively assisting the party's gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Republican told the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet that he won't be stumping for Republican Senate nominee Jim Oberweis.  

Kirk Vs. Duckworth for Senate in 2016?

Duckworth is a first-term House Democrat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Political circumstance could one day bring Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., together on a ballot against each other. But for now, military service and traumatic injury have united them at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where they often run into one another and visit with troops.  

Kirk, who is partially paralyzed from a stroke he suffered two years ago, does rehabilitation at the center when he's in Washington for Senate sessions. He is diligent about his treatment there, in part because he is getting in shape for a grueling 2016 re-election bid .  

Remainders: They Work Hard for the Money

Congressional candidates work hard for the money, and it shows in the first-quarter fundraising reports filed on Monday.

This quarter, seven figures marked the high bar for Senate campaign fundraising bragging rights — a large sum for hauls from this early in the cycle.

Illinois: Durbin Will Run for Re-Election

Durbin is running for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin will seek a fourth term, a source close to the Illinois Democrat confirmed.

The Chicago Tribune reported the news Friday afternoon.

Inside the 2014 Senate Races

But that’s exactly how things looked two years before the 2012 elections, when Democrats surprised many with victories in Missouri and North Dakota on their way to picking up two seats. So the challenge for the GOP and incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas is to capitalize on their opportunities.

That and how voters feel about President Barack Obama in 2014 could determine how the parties fare at the ballot box less than two years from now. Democrats won their current majority in 2006, in the second midterm election under President George W. Bush.

Illinois: Walsh Floats Statewide Bid

Rep. Joe Walsh is considering his political future after he his lost re-election bid. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., didn't rule out a statewide bid in 2014 in a recent interview with The Daily Herald.

Last week, Walsh, one of the House GOP's most outspoken and controversial conservatives, lost re-election to Democratic Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth. Walsh had this to say to the suburban Chicago newspaper when asked about a gubernatorial bid in 2014: