The Mark Kirk-Tammy Duckworth U.S. Senate race early on had all the markings of a campaign that would rise above the personal attacks and innuendo typical of modern politics.
Kirk in 2012 suffered a serious stroke and his recovery won him universal admiration. In his first term in the Senate, Kirk distinguished himself as arguably the most moderate Republican in the chamber.
Duckworth, now serving her second term representing Illinois' Eighth Congressional District, is a decorated war hero who lost both legs and nearly was killed when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004.
The two candidates have differing views on important issues like immigration and national security, but so far those have not been the focus of the campaigns.
Kirk has done everything possible to link Duckworth to imprisoned former Gov. Rod. Blagojevich, who appointed Duckworth to head the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. Kirk has made an 8-year-old workplace retaliation lawsuit by two workers at the Anna Veterans' Home a focal point of the campaign. A recent ad featured the plaintiffs in that suit claiming Duckworth retaliated against them to protect Blagojevich.
Duckworth's campaign has sought to link Kirk to Donald Trump and also has emphasized episodes from Kirk's 2010 Senate run in which he was found to have exaggerated his military activities.
The tone of the campaign may change once the candidate meet face to face for their first debate on Oct. 3 at the Chicago Tribune.
That's what we're talking about on this week's "Only in Illinois."
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