Martin radio ad against Kirk causing controversy

December 28, 2009 (CHICAGO) The ad for Republican U.S Senate candidate Andy Martin questions the sexuality of candidate Mark Kirk. It's quickly being denounced by the party.

The ads had run at least once Monday on WBBM-AM and WGN-AM radio stations.

Stations are required by the FCC to provide all legally qualified candidates for federal office with reasonable access and to air political ads without censoring them. It's a free speech issue, and Martin is under fire for what he's saying.

"Earlier today I began the first stage and first step in telling the voters the truth about who Mark Kirk really is," Martin said.

With the Illinois primaries just over a month away, Martin has set his sights on fellow Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Mark Kirk, who is the front-runner, according to a Chicago Tribune poll.

Martin launched a radio ad that's running state-wide, in which he says other Republican leaders have questioned Kirk's sexual orientation.

The ad says in part, "Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual. Roeser suggests Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals."

A spokesman for Mark Kirk issued this statement: "The ad is not true and is degrading to the political process. The people of Illinois deserve better."

Martin's ads were denounced by the Illinois Republican Party. Pat Brady, the chair of the Illinois Republican Party blasted the ad and Martin saying, "His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party. Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican Candidate by the Illinois Republican Party."

And the men mentioned by Martin in the ad, Republican businessman Jack Roeser and Ray True, Chairman of the Republican Assembly of Lake County, also responded.

Roeser told ABC 7, "I don't really want to be associated with Andy Martin. He's made a lot of legal statements and cases that I think are irresponsible. Whatever he says I don't support." .

True said, "I request through the media that Andy Martin cease and desist from making any additional statements that are incorrectly attributed to me."

According to political consultant Don Rose, Martin has never been considered a credible candidate. Running for public office for decades as both a Republican and Democrat, Martin has a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric and legal disputes in federal court.

"With such a record of failure politically, to say nothing of his other legal troubles, one wonders what keeps him going," said Rose.

On the Democratic side, Jacob Meister, the only openly gay candidate, is also denouncing Martin's ads.

"The type of McCarthy era tactics that are being used in this race have no place in American society," Meister said.

Kirk had an amicable divorce from his wife earlier this year. She supports his campaign for Senate.

Martin says this ad is just the beginning, and that stronger ads about Kirk will come in a couple of weeks.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.