Patrick Hughes v. Mark Kirk: Illinois May be a Test Case for the Effectiveness of Tea Parties

February 2, 2010 is the Illinois Republican Primary. Less than one month away. Patrick Hughes is running an upstart campaign against the would be Republican nominee, Mark Kirk. Patrick Hughes is as far right as Kirk is as far left.Patrick Hughes aims to harness the conservatives and tea party activists in Illinois who feel marginalized by Kirk and the Democrats further to the left of him. On Friday, Mark Levin endorsed Patrick Hughes and urged conservatives to rally to Patrick Hughes in this last month before the primary.It makes a compelling case to see just how rapid a response the tea party activists and conservatives can make in a Republican Primary. Should Patrick Hughes win the GOP primary, it would send shock waves across the nation and severely shake the foundations of the GOP establishment.Mark Kirk has gotten a lot of bad press in Illinois for his cap-and-trade vote. Illinois is a transportation hub with oil and coal reserves. Cap and trade would harm Illinois’s industrial base at a time the state has 11% unemployment.Patrick Hughes has been making that case across the state — taking a national issue and making it very local. People are registering their impact.The race right now comes down to name ID. Kirk has it. Patrick Hughes doesn’t. But polling shows when Republican voters know Patrick Hughes and Kirk, they go with Patrick Hughes overwhelmingly. In fact, polling also shows 60% of primary voters are undecided — something that suggests a one month blitz by Patrick Hughes could dramatically improve his numbers.Patrick Hughes was born on the northwest side of Chicago in a small apartment. His parents told him if he believed in God and worked hard, he could do whatever he wanted. He went to law school, became a lawyer, then became a small businessman.Now he wants to represent Illinois in the United States Senate. If conservatives and tea party activists rally to him, he has a shot. But the hourglass is almost out of sand.

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