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Mark Kirk's "Stalker"

  Illinois pols of both parties agree on the likely outcome of at least one major race in the upcoming primary.  Mark Kirk will win the republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.  Right?


  Kirk will have to wait until after the February 2nd democratic vote to have an opponent.  Right?


  For months, wanna-be Senator Kirk has faced one of the toughest political operatives in the country.  Her name is Kathleen Strand.  She's the senior vice president of a political consulting outfit called The Dover Group which has been hired by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to give Kirk as much grief as possible during his "lead pipe cinch" primary campaign. 

  Strand is a Chicago native who since 2003 has worked various democratic campaigns in 12 states.  She solidified her rep as Hillary Clinton's communications director during Clinton's improbable comeback victory in the 2008 New Hampshire Primary.  Now, Strand watches and records Kirk's every political move and word.  Whenever she thinks the moderate northshore congressman has changed his position on an issue (usually moving to the right to placate the more conservative statewide republican base), Strand speaks, writes, telephones and e-mails "flip-flop" alerts to the political universe.  Her latest "outreach" is a web page called "Two Faced Kirk" (https://www.dscc.org/twofaced/) complete with a YouTube video. 

  I met Strand, a University of Missouri journalism graduate, last summer outside a DuPage County republican event that featured the congressman around the time he announced his Senate candidacy.   Initially, I mistook the slim blond standing in the parking lot for some kind of Mark Kirk groupie.  Big mistake.  She was banned from doing her thing inside the building by hotel security but it didn't stop her from holding court outside on Kirk's now-infamous change of heart on cap and trade legislation.

   I left telephone and e-mail messages with the congressman's communications director for a comment on Strand's "campaign" but did not get a reponse.  Perhaps the Kirk strategy at this point is to ignore Strand and she'll go away.  She hasn't.

   So as Democrats Alexi Giannoulias, Cheryle Robinson Jackson, David Hoffman and Jacob Meister slug it out to determine who gets to carry their party's U.S. Senate banner in 2010, they needn't worry that Mark Kirk is getting a "free ride" in the republican primary.

   Political "stalker" Kathleen Strand is making sure that he doesn't. 


Strand is nothing. There's a tenth district blogger who'd been doing that for years. www.ellenofthetenth.blogspot.com.

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