CHICAGO (CBS) — Seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Durbin in November, Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis on Thursday welcomed the belated support of Durbin’s GOP colleague on Capitol Hill, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, earlier on, Kirk hesitated to publicly endorse Oberweis.
Though he said at the time he supported the entire GOP ticket in November, Kirk said he wouldn’t campaign for Oberweis, because he said he didn’t want to damage his friendly relationship with Durbin by engaging in a “partisan jihad.”
Kirk and Durbin repeatedly have worked together on legislation on Capitol Hill.
Now, Kirk has changed his mind, and publicly endorsed Oberweis on Thursday. He said he wants to support a fiscal conservative who would help House Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Oberweis rejected any suggestion he called Kirk to complain about not immediately endorsing him after Oberweis won the GOP nomination last month.
“I don’t think I can tell Senator Kirk anything. It’s more I listen to his thoughts, and I did talk to him a week or 10 days ago, something like that, shortly after those comments, so I understood what his position was.”
Oberweis said there are no hard feelings about the delayed endorsement.
“It’s my understanding that Mr. Durbin was supportive of Mark during his recovery period [from Kirk’s 2012 stroke], so I understand the initial reaction, but I’m also very glad that he … more aggressively, more publicly said that he will help our campaign,” he said.
Oberweis said he respects and looks up to Kirk, and noted he also has Democratic friends.
“Working with some of my Democrat friends in Springfield, obviously I would not want to upset those relationships, because you have to work with them,” he said.