Watch CBS News

Mark Kirk to write in Colin Powell for president

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., says he'll vote for former secretary of state Colin Powell in November, according to NBC Chicago.

The senator, who is facing a heated reelection against Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said on Tuesday in a radio interview with WJBC that he has pivoted away from his previous write-in consideration, former CIA director, David Petraeus, and will now cast a ballot for Powell instead.

"It's just kind of a protest vote for me, and I think that Donald Trump is too bigoted and too racist for the land of Lincoln," Kirk said, responding to a question about the purpose of writing in someone who isn't running.

On June 7, Kirk disavowed his support for the GOP candidate after Donald Trump's comment that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was biased in a civil lawsuit involving Trump University because of his Hispanic heritage.

After denouncing the billionaire real estate mogul, the Kirk campaign said it had its eyes set on either Petraeus or Powell for president.

On Sunday, Kirk told radio host Steve Cochran he intended to write in Petraeus and encouraged other voters to do the same.

"I want to see Petraeus get a lot of votes so that it just shows that there are thinking people out there," he said, before switching his endorsement to Powell two days later.

Kirk's gravitation to Powell comes on the heels of a mid-July television advertisement from the Duckworth campaign, which criticizes Kirk for supporting Petraeus, who resigned from the CIA after a national security scandal stemming from his extramarital affair with biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Switching from Petraeus to Powell, according to Kirk in the WJBC interview, was because he believes Powell is "much more experienced at the national level."

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Kirk said he would not vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton because of her support for the Iran nuclear deal, the same deal Powell called "pretty good" on NBC's "Meet the Press" last fall.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.