SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) – It’s been labeled a key senate race to watch, and Oct. 27 in Springfield republican Sen. Mark Kirk and democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth went head-to-head.
The debate quickly heated up with questions about Kirk’s health.
“I would say that the stroke has made me much stronger as a senator,” Kirk said.
He said he’s confident in his ability to lead. But Duckworth said it’s not a matter of his physical capability.
“I think the senator is perfectly capable of doing his job,” Kirk said. “The concern I have is with him not doing his job.”
The tables then turned on Duckworth when questions were raised about her time as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We see right in the front here several whistle blowers who have been quite critical of you, not my words but their words,” Kirk said.
Former employees have brought a lawsuit against her saying she ignored problems they reported, or retaliated against them. Duckworth, once again, refuted the allegations.
“I’m not going to let political stunts stop me from what I truly believe is my calling: taking care of my vets,” Duckworth said.
As the 90 minute debate burned through topics like immigration, police relations and the federal budget, Kirk spent much of his time aligning himself with polices from the Obama administration, like stances on refugees and the Middle East.
“It is much better to take care of this problem with Islamic troops who speak Arabic that are from the area, and I think with that, the current policy is the right way to go in defeating ISIS,” Kirk said.
Meantime, Duckworth aligned herself with hard-working Americans.
“When I talk about what it was like to be on food stamps and what it was like to have a high school English teacher buy me lunch because my food stamps were going to run out at the end of the month, they get that I know what it’s like to be hungry, and I know what it’s like to be struggling,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth has picked up two major endorsements by Chicago newspapers. And lead Kirk 49.8% to his 39.1% in the last poll conducted by victory research.
This was the two’s first televised debate. They will face-off on TV again Nov. 4.