OSWEGO − Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran endorsed James Marter of Oswego for U.S. Senate Tuesday.
"I am supporting James Marter, because he is a family man, business owner, proponent of the 2nd amendment, and pro-life. James is the type of candidate that the founders envisioned, a solid member of our community, and not a career politician, so therefore, I wanted to be the first elected official in the state of Illinois, to endorse James Marter for Senate," Curran said.
Marter said he was pleased to announce the sheriff's endorsement. "Sheriff Curran is a man of integrity and principle; he is a champion of fiscal responsibility, government transparency and justice with integrity," Marter said.
There's no question that Curran and Marter agree wholeheartedly on issues concerning life, marriage and other issues of concern to social conservatives. But, Curran told Illinois Review Tuesday, they may not be exactly the same on the immigration issue.
In September, Curran led a public Fatima prayer at a pro-immigrant rally and mentioned presidential candidate Donald Trump's positions on immigration.
"How many of you think that Donald Trump may be blind?" Curran asked the crowd.
Sheriff Curran has been amidst controversy over the immigration issue for some time, doing his best to toe the line between radically-different viewpoints. As a committed Catholic, he defends immigration reform and a path allowing immigrants here already to stay in America. As Lake County's top law enforcement officer, he says he is compelled to obey federal immigration laws.
"In Lake County, we honor ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] holds, unlike Cook County," he told Illinois Review. "In Cook County, they let possible illegal immigrants that disobeyed the law out of jail even if ICE wants access," to investigate deportation, Curran said.
But the differences on immigration set aside, Curran's stand for Marter is sure to cause him strife within the Republican ranks that are lined up to retain Kirk, despite his negative ratings from conservative groups.
"Marter's a good guy. I spoke with him for a long time before making this decision to endorse. He's more conservative on the immigration issue than Mark Kirk," Curran said. "I guess you could say that I'm applying the 80 percent Reagan rule in supporting Marter over Kirk."
Marter's campaign told Illinois Review that he holds to his position to protect the border and enforce immigration laws.
"Nothing has been agreed to in exchange for endorsement. The reasons for Sheriff Curran's endorsement were specifically listed in the press release," Raquel Mitchell, Marter's campaign manager said.
"This is an example of the old Ronald Reagan adage: If I agree with you 80% of the time, you are my friend not my enemy. Without equivocation James believes in protecting our borders and enforcing our existing immigration laws."
Marter and Sheriff Curran will be at Morgan’s Restaurant in Libertyville, at 3 p.m. Tuesday.