U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, the front-runner in the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate, finds himself the object of an unusual attack ad from one of his lesser-known opponents, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Andy Martin, who has run for numerous elective offices over the last three decades in Illinois, Florida and Connecticut, taped a commercial questioning whether Kirk is gay.
Statements some conservative Republicans made on a radio show saying they have heard “rumors” that Kirk is gay.
“Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a ‘solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual,’ ” Martin says in the ad. “Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals. Mark Kirk should tell Republican voters the truth.”
Kirk, a U.S. Naval Intelligence officer, was unavailable for comment because he is on active duty over the holidays, said spokesman Eric Elk.
But Elk issued this statement on his behalf: “The ad is not true and is degrading to the political process. The people of Illinois deserve better.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Patrick Brady blasted Martin and the ad, saying, “The Illinois Republican Party disavows the statements made today by Mr. Andrew Martin in his statewide radio advertisements. His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party. Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican candidate by the Illinois Republican Party.”
Martin garnered some national attention for pushing rumors that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and that the Hawaiian birth certificate Obama posted on his Web site early in his campaign was a fake.
Martin and Kirk are both facing off in the Republican primary for the 2010 Senate Race for the seat previously held by President Barack Obama, and now by Roland Burris.
The Democratic front runner in the race is first-term state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a longtime supporter of gay rights and Chicago’s LGBT community who favors legalization of same-sex marriage and repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.