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Andy Martin, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, is airing a radio ad suggesting that fellow Republican candidate and frontrunner Mark Kirk, is gay, the Associated Press reports. The ad states, in part, "Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says that there is a solid rumor that [Mark] Kirk is a homosexual. Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club."
Neither the Kirk campaign nor the Republican Party are taking kindly to Martin's charges. Kirk campaign manager Eric Elk issued a statement saying, "The ad is not true and is degrading to the political process. The people of Illinois deserve better."
The Republican Party said it would no longer consider Martin a legitimate candidate. "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," party chairman Pat Brady said, according to the Associated Press.
The AP added that Martin has a long record of running unsuccessful campaigns for public office, making unsubstantiated claims, and filing frivolous lawsuits. He called one federal judge a "crooked, slimy Jew" and has expressed sympathy for the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
A contender in the race who is gay, Democrat Jacob Meister, calls Martin's charges shocking. However, he adds, because Kirk is an officer in the Navy Reserves, the allegations could be enough to spark a military investigation into Kirk's sexual orientation under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The military has investigated the sexual orientation of service members on information as seemingly unreliable as the Martin claim, Meister says, according to WGIL radio. Kirk, who currently represents the Illinois 10th district in Congress, supports DADT. Meister opposes it.
Read the full transcript of Martin's radio ad here.