The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Why Isn’t Mark Kirk Being Sworn In Now?


Remember how we were told the Senate races in West Virginia, Illinois, and Delaware were particularly important, because the winners would be immediately seated, and thus have a say in the lame duck session?

Well, we forgot the exception, which is when Democrats don’t want to seat a Republican winner. Then it gets… delayed.

Illinois Republican Mark Kirk won’t be seated in the U.S. Senate in time for the start of the lame duck session of Congress this month – unlike two other newly elected senators.

The session begins Nov. 15. But state officials say the paperwork officially declaring Kirk the winner of the Senate race won’t be delivered until Nov. 29.

That should still allow Kirk to participate in two weeks of the session in December. He argued strongly during the campaign that voters needed to send him to the Senate quickly so he could help block spending and tax increases.

Two Democrats are expected to be sworn in at the start of the lame duck session. Chris Coons of Delaware will fill the remainder of Vice President Joe Biden’s term, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia replaces the late Robert Byrd.


Kirk wouldn’t discuss the situation Friday. His campaign said he was getting some rest, and released a statement saying: “The Senator-elect looks forward to being seated as soon as possible to ensure fiscal conservatives have another vote to hold the line on spending and keep taxes low.”

Well, I’m sure the Illinois Democrats who run the state government are on the up-and-up, and this is a perfectly normal, legitimate delay.

Tags: Mark Kirk


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