Mark Kirk: Dumping Trump is paying off

A few weeks into his dump Trump strategy, Kirk says bucking the top of his ticket is paying off.

“It’s helped because I’m a very independent voice for Illinois,” he told CNN, adding that his strategy helps “make sure that people know that I always put Illinois first.”

A Kirk campaign official tells CNN that there has been an uptick in donor and volunteer interest since the senator distanced himself from Trump.

His Democratic opponent Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who was quick to capitalize on Kirk’s about face on Trump, maintains that Kirk still equals Trump.

“Mark Kirk is (using) the exact kind of rhetoric as Donald Trump and he just needs to own it and stop lying about it,” Duckworth told CNN.