Via Chicago Sun-Times:
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is ruling out campaigning for longshot GOP Illinois U.S. Senate nominee Jim Oberweis, saying Monday he would rather “protect” his relationship with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and not launch a “partisan jihad.”
Kirk and Durbin are a very rare couple in Washington. They get along, even when they disagree. They grew closer after Kirk suffered a severe stroke, keeping him away from the Capitol for almost a year.
As a result, the two have forged for now an informal, unspoken, non-aggression pact.
Kirk’s more-than-kind words for Durbin will be very useful to Durbin in his race against Oberweis — where Durbin is the front-runner. A mutual disarming is potentially vastly more beneficial to Kirk, who already has said he will run for another term in 2016 and could potentially face a Democrat with some juice.
Durbin aside, it helps Kirk, a social moderate, who supports gay marriage, abortion rights and comprehensive immigration reform, to disassociate himself from Oberweis, who is opposite him on the very issues that may appeal to the swing independent suburban voters, especially suburban women who Kirk has cultivated throughout his congressional career.