CHICAGO, IL –Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Mark Kirk posted a solid victory on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, in the Illinois Republican primary race for President Obama’s former Senate seat. Kirk, who was endorsed by the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois, will now go on to face Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the general election in November.
“We were excited to be part of Congressman Kirk’s Senate primary victory,” stated ANC of Illinois spokesperson Ari Killian. ANC volunteers worked at Kirk’s campaign headquarters, distributed literature and put up signs to help get the vote out in the weeks preceding the election. “Congressman Kirk has been one of the Armenian community’s strongest advocates in the House, and we look forward to helping him take our message to the Senate.”
Kirk recently criticized the State Department’s support for the creation of a historical commission to review the Armenian genocide, and called on the Obama administration to lead the world in recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
A five-term congressman representing Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs, Kirk easily defeated his closet contender, Patrick Hughes, 57% to 19% in a primary election that had one of the lowest levels of voter turnout in Illinois election history. While the low turnout was due in part to the snow and sleet that fell throughout the day, many Illinois voters have expressed disillusionment with the widespread political corruption in both parties, exemplified by former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is currently under indictment for selling the appointment to fill Obama’s Senate seat, and his predecessor, Republican Gov. George Ryan, who is currently serving a six-year prison term.
Contenders for their parties’ nomination for Kirk’s open 10th congressional district seat also led active campaigns. Republican primary candidates State Representative Beth Coulson (IL-17) and businessman Robert Dold both courted Armenian-American voters with visits to the Armenian All-Saints Community Center in Glenview, IL in the final days preceding the Republican primary election. Dold, who enlisted the assistance of Nahigian Strategies, a political consulting firm based in Arlington, VA, came out on top in the Republican primary, defeating Coulson 38% to 31%.
In the Democratic primary, businessman Dan Seals narrowly defeated State Representative Julie Hamos (IL-18) by less than 1000 votes. The primary races for the Illinois gubernatorial candidates were just as tight, with Democratic Governor Pat Quinn defeating Comptroller Dan Hynes by only 8000 votes and with Republican front-runners State Senators Kirk Dillard (IL-24) and Bill Brady (IL-44) separated by less than 450 votes.
The Armenian National Committee of Illinois is a grassroots public affairs organization serving to inform, educate, and act on issues concerning Armenian Americans throughout the state of Illinois. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANC actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
ANC of Illinois activists Greg Bedian, Dr. Garo Emerzian, and Ari Killian at Cong. Kirk’s victory party.