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Sen. Mark Kirk says he’d rather take on Zopp than Duckworth in Senate race

Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp confirmed Friday that she plans to enter the Democratic primary to run against U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.

“I expect that I will make a formal announcement within the next couple of weeks,” Zopp told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Zopp said she is currently “putting together a campaign team.”

Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported Thursday that Zopp, a Harvard-trained lawyer with an impressive resume, would make an announcement shortly that she would be entering the Democratic primary in the Senate race. In addition to heading up the Urban League, Zopp is a member of the Chicago Board of Education.

In the Democratic primary, Zopp would face U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, who has already announced her bid to unseat Kirk.

Asked Friday who he’d rather run against, Kirk — who was a guest speaker at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs downtown — said: “Zopp is an easier candidate for me to defeat. . . . Because she’s not as well known.”

Kirk described Duckworth as a “war hero.”

“She has a great story to tell because she’s given a lot to this country,” Kirk said. Duckworth lost both her legs when her helicopter was shot down over Iraq.

In April, Sneed reported that Zopp was being urged to enter the Senate race. Former White House Chief of Staff William Daley is among those who’ve spoken to Zopp.

“Yes, I have talked to her about it and have enormous respect for her, consider her my friend and think she would be great in government and politics — but I can’t push anybody — anyone to run,” Daley told Sneed.

Kirk launched an ad campaign on Thursday in Chicago and the Champaign area touting his recovery from a stroke to return to the Senate. The early ad buy shows how competitive the Senate race is expected to be. Democrats consider left-leaning Illinois fertile ground to regain a Senate seat.