While one of his Senate Republican opponents was attacking U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk in radio ads this holiday season, the five-term congressman and Naval Reserve officer was serving in Afghanistan.
Kirk has now returned and will no doubt hit the media Thursday with his assessment of the Afghanistan war and President Barack Obama's handling of the failed airline bombing on Christmas Day.
This is the second time the Highland Park Republican has served a brief tour in the war-torn country as an intelligence officer. Last year, he also deployed to Afghanistan over the Christmas holidays, making him the first sitting congressman to serve in a war zone since World War II.
Kirk left on Dec. 20 and reportedly was back in his office last night.
Kirk faces a field of four other Republicans in his run for Senate. The primary is Feb. 2.
Opponent Andy Martin, a Chicago blogger, ran radio ads attacking Kirk recently that have drawn considerable fire for there allegations.
Other challengers include Hinsdale businessman Pat Hughes, Springfield activist Kathleen Thomas and downstate retired judge Don Lowery of Golconda.
Kirk is hoping to replace Roland Burris, who was appointed by Rod Blagojevich last year to Obama's vacant seat.