Because of his intelligent and informed Yes vote on H.R.2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Illinois Senate candidate Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL-10) has had to endure rough treatment from his GOP crowd.
Considered a "Cap and Traitor" because of his vote, Kirk had tried to maintain his pro-enviromental creds and "moderate and independent" self-descriptive brand, so he voted for the bill after a private meeting in the White House during the recent Luau. Clearly, he did not foresee the right wing over-reaction, and has been furiously back-pedaling since.
As he swings rightward to shut off any primary challenge (something he tried to prevent by not declaring until both Lt Gov Madigan and Andy McKenna had taken themselves out of contention), Mr. Courageous is starting to face some fundraising "issues" as he tries to build up his war chest to capture Obama's former Senate seat.
Big Republican donors are keeping their distance as Kirk makes his telemarketing calls to Bush Bundlers (it is estimated that he must raise at least $75,000 each day -- of course, when he's not doing his job as an elected representative for the Tenth District of Illinois). The further he gets from his Cap and Trade vote, the easier it will become.
Donors are fearful that Kirk -- who has always packaged himself as a "moderate" for his liberal North Shore District, in spite of mostly consistent votes with President Bush's agenda -- will become just another Senator Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe. Although he is a moderate only on social issues -- pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-stem cell -- they don't really trust him.
I predict that his few primary challengers will make a big deal about his Cap & Trade vote, portray him as a Collins/Snowe look-alike, and say he is not conservative enough. Kirk will be attacking Obama, the health insurance reform plan, and Washington (as if he is not a complete Washington creature). He'll forget to mention that he also was one of the few Republican Congressmen to vote for the Wall Street Bailout (TARP Bill).
If the Illinois party protects him from the right-wing wackos and he wins the primary, he will move a bit more toward the left to try to win the Independent votes that are his only hope of winning the general election. But he has to appease the right-wing base to get enough money.
An interesting conundrum for him.