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Illinois: Sun-Times Endorses Ozinga Over Halvorson

The liberal Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsed concrete magnate Martin Ozinga (R) in the open 11th Congressional district race on Monday. The newspaper wrote that “America’s financial woes are the No. 1 priority of most taxpayers” and that “Ozinga is a highly successful businessman, building his company into the largest, private, family-owned concrete firm in the country.”

“He knows the weaknesses of the health care system, the perils of overtaxation and the squeeze of the credit crunch, firsthand,” the Sun-Times editorial board wrote. “It might be tempting to see Ozinga, at first glance, as some Babbitt of the ’burbs.”

“In fact, he’s a man who has seen much of the world and tried to help many he’s come across, whether it’s a local hospital next door or a medical center he set up in Romania,” the endorsement continued. “He’s made frequent charity trips to Africa over the years and has worked to help stem the AIDS epidemic in that continent, along with other health calamities.”

The Sun-Times editors did not outright bash Ozinga’s opponent, state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D), writing that they “admire her work ethic.” Still, they wrote that her proximity to scandal- ridden Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is difficult to overlook.

“Unfortunately, given her leadership position in the state Senate, she also bears some blame for the quagmire in Springfield, as much as she’d like to distance herself from it,” the Sun-Times editorial board wrote.

So far this cycle, the Sun-Times has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president, and Reps. Melissa Bean (D) and Mark Kirk (R) for re-election.

Kirk, Seals Trade Jabs; Republican Is confident

Targeted Rep. Mark Kirk (R) downplayed home-state presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s (D) potential effect on his race last week, writing in a new campaign memo that his opponent, marketing consultant Dan Seals (D), “was touted as a challenger but is now known as an accident prone candidate who is facing a huge funding shortfall.”

“Mark Kirk has swept all major news media/political group endorsements and enters the final weeks with a 7-to-1 advantage in campaign cash-on-hand,” his campaign wrote in an Oct. 15 memo.

Kirk had $1.8 million in cash as of Oct. 1, while Seals had $240,000 in the bank. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which recruited Seals to challenge Kirk again this cycle, has spent $479,000 through Sunday beating up on Kirk in Chicago’s expensive media market.

Meanwhile, Seals was busy on Monday declaring victory in a debate with Kirk over the weekend. In one debate exchange distributed by his campaign yesterday, the Democrat jabbed at the incumbent for his alleged party-line votes, while Kirk channeled Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who famously said earlier in his campaign, “I’d rather lose an election than lose a war.”

“If you are voting to subsidize the oil industry, voting to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case, or voting for this war in Iraq, then I have a disagreement with you, and I don’t think you’re doing a good job of representing this district,” Seals said at the debate. “Looking at a recent Kirk vote, he voted for the recent economic rescue package, even though folks calling his office, 10-to-1, said they didn’t like it.”

Kirk shot back: “Dan Seals took the popular position and he said he would have voted no on the rescue package. I voted for it, both the first time and the second time, because I will always vote to protect your job, even if it risks losing mine.”

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