GOP fundraiser calls for Kirk to drop 2016 bid, backtracks

CHICAGO (AP) — A top Republican fundraiser suggested that Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk should abandon his quest for re-election, but then quickly backtracked.

Businessman Ron Gidwitz told Crain’s Chicago Business (http://bit.ly/1eydEFG ) Tuesday he didn’t believe Kirk could win in 2016 and said he “could cause collateral damage.” Gidwitz later asked if he could retract the statements, though he acknowledged making them, according to the report.

Gidwitz told Crain’s “misstatements” by Kirk put the party in a “defensive position.” Kirk recently drew attention after he joked that South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham was a “bro with no ho” because he was unmarried.

Kirk campaign spokesman Kevin Artl says that the senator and Gidwitz “have had a strained relationship for years.” He says the comments and “subsequent retraction” weren’t surprising.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and former federal prosecutor Andrea Zopp say they are seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Kirk.