Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who suffered a stroke in January 2012, now remains firmly committed to running for re-election in 2016.
"No frickin' way am I retiring," Kirk told CQ Roll Call. "With all this rehab, for me just to walk was a huge effort. I had to re-learn how to walk again after the stroke. And all the rehab and all the effort shows the mental determination times 10 to keep serving."
Kirk was away from the Senate for a full year, before he returned to work in January 2013, and since then he has continued as an active member of the chamber. For his part, Kirk says that any speculation about whether he would be able to run again is only happening because Democrats are afraid they can't beat him.
"It's the only way that Democrats can win in Illinois, is to say, 'Ohhhh Kirk has health problems, he's going to retire,'" Kirk said. "For Democrats looking at a minority life and seeing that they cannot win in Illinois is so frustrating that they will just assume away any issue. They'll just say to willing reporters, 'I think Kirk is going to retire.'"