U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk snagged a high-profile endorsement from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg while announcing his push for gun-control legislation Monday.
"He is a big boost," Kirk said following the afternoon news conference in Northbrook.
Kirk is sponsoring legislation to close a so-called loophole that allows gun dealers to sell weapons without the required background checks if their distribution licenses are revoked.
The measure is one of several that Bloomberg and other mayors across the country are pushing through the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.
"(Kirk) has had the courage to stand up," Bloomberg said surrounded by suburban police officers and the mayors of Palatine and Arlington Heights. "That is the kind of elected official we need."
Kirk has long been a proponent of gun-control measures, including a ban on assault weapons and gun show sales that lack background checks. His position on gun laws has set him apart from traditional Republican doctrine in the Democratic-leaning district.
Bloomberg, an independent mayor, headlined a fundraiser for Kirk following the news conference at a Glencoe residence that brought in more than $100,000.
The Highland Park Republican is facing one of the toughest challenges of his career this election season.
Democrat Dan Seals, a Wilmette businessman, is running against Kirk for a second time, having garnered 47 percent of the vote in 2006.
Seals' campaign released a statement saying gun-control is "not a point of contention in this race" because the Democrat also supports similar measures.
In reference to Bloomberg's endorsement, Seals spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith said their campaign will remind voters Kirk falls in line with President George Bush on numerous issues.