On Sunday night, after traveling Chicago’s suburbs for three days, trailing the two Illinois Democrats vying to knock Mark Kirk out of the state’s 10th Congressional district seat (here and here), I finally caught up with the Republican incumbent lat night – in New Jersey.
Kirk spoke to a mostly Modern Orthodox group of donors at a newly constructed mansion in Englewood, at a fund raiser held for him by Norpac, a single-issue political action committee that raises around $1 million per year for pro-Israel incumbents in the House and Senate.
Out of about 20 guests, I was one of only two men not wearing yarmulkes.
Kirk’s voting record on Israel is impeccable: He has pushed for Israel to be included in whatever neo-Star Wars plans the government has in place, helped secure aero-missiles for Israel, and aided Israel’s successful effort to secure American “Eyes-in-the-Sky” data that would give the Jewish state 11 minutes warning if a missile attack was launched against it. Kirk has also been an outspoken critic of UNWRA, the U.N. agency charged with aiding Palestinian refugees and frequently accused of fostering anti-Israel sentiment.
Kirk, a Naval Reserve intelligence officer, who also works in the Pentagon, didn’t veer from those views last night, spending nearly 40 minutes speaking in depth about the short-term, medium-term and long-term threats Israel faces – the chief among them Iran.
“How do we as Americans committed to the security of our ally make sure she is always there and that a hundred years of Zionism is not wiped out in a single attack?” he asked.
Kirk has about $2 million in the bank so far for his upcoming race,
and Norpac raised about $15,000 for him last night, according to its
president, Dr. Ben Chouake. This was the third time Norpac has held a fund raiser for Kirk.
When asked about Daniel Seals and Jay Footlik, the two Democrats who will face off in the Feb. 5 primary to see who will run against him, Kirk said that he is not worried about a challenge from Seals.
“I won in the toughest year ever last year for Republicans and I
defeated Seals by a 7 percent margin,” he told me before he spoke to the Norpac crowd. “We know Dan Seals the best, and we know how to beat him.”
A side note: The Republican candidate recently was promoted in the Naval Reserves. He is now Commander Kirk.