CHICAGO >> Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk were criss-crossing the Chicago area today, making a final push to voters to send them to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.
Polls show Duckworth with a healthy lead, and Democrats are counting on a win in left-leaning Illinois as they attempt to regain control of the Senate.
Kirk visited a Chicago Thai restaurant with members of his Asian Americans for Kirk Coalition — a stop that’s particularly notable because Duckworth was born in Thailand to a Chinese-Thai mother and American father. He started the day at a GOP headquarters in Winnetka, a suburb north of Chicago that’s located in Kirk’s former congressional district and not far from his hometown of Highland Park.
Duckworth has ties to Hawaii. She graduated from McKinley High School and the University of Hawaii.
Kirk acknowledged he’s trailing Duckworth, but is working to pull off an “upset.”
“When you’re a Republican in Illinois, everybody discounts you,” he said. “I’ve always closed strong.”
On Monday night, Kirk was set to answer questions in a third telephone-in town hall event that will target independent voters, which is a demographic he must appeal to if he wants to get within striking distance of Duckworth.
Duckworth met Monday with campaign volunteers in Arlington Heights, near her hometown of Hoffman Estates. She then was reaching out to minority voters, including a visit to a senior center in Chicago’s predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood and a meet-and-greet with commuters at a train stop on Chicago’s South Side, where most residents are African-American.
“I am pushing hard every single minute, every single hour all the way through Election Day,” Duckworth said.
Later Monday, Duckworth was joining other Democrats for a get-out-the-vote rally at a Chicago union hall.
Over the weekend, first lady Michelle Obama appeared in an ad for the second-term congresswoman, calling Duckworth “the model of courage, integrity and compassion” and urging voters to elect Duckworth to the seat Obama once held.
Kirk spent much of Sunday at a charity event where he climbed the steps of the Willis Tower in Chicago, a feat he said should send a message to voters that he’s healthy enough to do the job following a 2012 stroke.