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The Latest: Kirk again reverses course on pick for president

August 17, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair, where Republicans are informally kicking off the campaign season (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is again reversing course on his pick for president.

Kirk is facing a tough re-election challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

In March he said he “certainly” would support Donald Trump if he became the GOP’s presidential nominee. But Kirk changed his mind after multiple controversial statements by Trump.

He then said he would write-in David Petraeus, the retired U.S. Army general and former CIA director who pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information.

Last week Kirk said he would write-in retired Gen. Colin Powell. Kirk said he wanted someone who opposes President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. But Powell supported that deal.

Kirk says he’s now back to writing in Petraeus. He told reporters Wednesday at the Illinois State Fair: “I like him.”

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10:36 a.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner promises to outspend Democrats this fall in a Republican effort to reclaim the Illinois General Assembly.

The Republican governor told party county chairmen Wednesday that Illinois voters know “this is our time” and will stand with the GOP to defeat “machine” Democrats who have taken over.

The first-term governor revved up the crowd at a downtown hotel in advance of Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. He says Democrats have far outspent his party in recent elections. But he promised the “biggest ground game ever” for legislative races this fall.

In 20 months, Rauner has been unable to get a full-year budget with legislative Democrats — let alone portions of his pro-business agenda.

Democrats hold supermajorities of 71-47 in the House and 39-20 in the Senate.

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