Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a candidate for Senate in 2010, wrote a memo to Sarah Palin requesting that she endorse him during her visit to Chicago for the Oprah Winfrey Show. The Post noted that “Palin’s endorsement [of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman] helped force state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) from the race” in the NY-23 special election, and that Kirk’s memo is “tangible evidence of the power of Palin’s endorsement in a Republican primary.”
The memo is also tangible evidence of Kirk’s willingness to dramatically switch positions in order to gain political power. Last year, Kirk panned Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) selection of Palin as his running mate, telling the Chicago Tribune, “I would have picked someone different.” Asked about Palin’s qualifications for office, Kirk said, “Quite frankly, I don’t know.”
However, it appears that Palin has rejected Kirk’s request for an endorsement. Recently, Kirk told ThinkProgress that he had been expecting her endorsement once she visited Chicago:
TP: How about Sarah Palin? How close are you to getting her endorsement?
KIRK: We sent a memo detailing the race, and she’ll be coming in to Chicago shortly.
However, Palin visited Chicago last week to tape an interview with Winfrey and made no mention of Kirk. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal noted that Kirk was “unsuccessful” in his bid for an endorsement, despite his detailed memo.
Facing a competitive challenge from businessman Patrick Hughes in the Republican primary, Kirk is attempting to veer to the right. After voting in favor of cap-and-trade clean energy legislation during the summer, Kirk quickly changed his mind and told tea party activists that he would vote against the same bill in the Senate. Speaking to another assembly of conservative supporters in April, Kirk suggested that people should shoot Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) for raising taxes.