- Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Republican Sen. Mark Kirk’s campaign fired back at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday morning after the Manhattan billionaire said Kirk was “not doing so well” in the Illinois Senate race.
Kirk’s campaign manager, Kevin Artl, told Business Insider in a statement that the Illinois Republican was far outperforming Trump in the state.
“The simple fact is that the Illinois Senate race is a statistical tie and Sen. Kirk is outperforming Donald Trump by a net of 13 points,” he said.
During a town-hall event on Thursday, Trump said pundits’ predictions that Republican Senate candidates would be hurt by Trump’s candidacy had turned out to be untrue. He then targeted Kirk, who in a rather unprecedented way earlier this year unendorsed Trump to help distance himself from the GOP nominee.
“I guess there’s a gentleman in Illinois that’s not doing so well,” he said.
Howie Carr, a conservative radio host moderating the town hall, jumped in and said “Mark Kirk.”
“This guy was actually taking out ads against me,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Are you sure he’s a Republican? Maybe he’s a Democrat?’ And he’s not doing well, but hey, that’s his problem. I mean, you know, he was not for me. But if you look at – and he was – that was for political reasons.”
Kirk is trailing Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth by 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average of several polls. A recent Emerson poll, however, found Duckworth to be leading Kirk by just 2 points – within the margin of error.
On the flip side, Trump is trailing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – who is from the Chicago area – by 14.7 points in the RCP average. Recent polls that found Kirk trailing by 14, 2, and 5 points found Trump trailing by 25, 6, and 13 points.
Sean Savett, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Illinois, utilized Trump’s remarks to take a swipe at Kirk in a statement to Business Insider.
“Donald Trump has proven himself totally unfit to be President, but even a broken clock is right twice a day,” he said.
Maxwell Tani contributed reporting.