"This is something I have been contemplating for awhile, but a combination of family, friends, loyalty and simple inertia have held me back from making the move," continued in the op-ed. "The results of the 2018 elections in Illinois and the rise to power of those who believe in growing the size of government, increasing regulations and strengthening labor unions -- all at the expense of the individual, entrepreneurs and businesses -- all helped make the choice relatively straightforward for me."
"In some ways, I don't feel like I'm leaving Illinois. I feel as though Illinois left me," Kirk said, summing up his stint in the overly progressive state.
Kirk's move to the Sunshine State comes as a surprise, with his reach and activism being prominent in Illinois -- a state crippled by far left ideologies and a multitude of racial and educational issues. Born in Illinois, Kirk became politically active at a young age. Since then, he has used his platform to crackdown on leftist policies, promote free speech, and expose liberal bias across universities.
Much of Kirk's work, aimed at taking down progressive policies and exposing the radical left, has caught fire among conservatives in recent years. From appearing on Fox News to being attached to President Donald Trump, Kirk's political stock among Republicans continues to rise.
While Kirk's move South is sure to be a welcome addition for conservatives in the state, it's his organization that is extremely enticing for many looking to shift the state from a swing state to a solid red one.
A nonprofit student group, TPUSA is focused on advancing capitalism and empowering young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government. With over 300 chapters on college campuses across the country, Kirk's conservative outfit continues to be a leader in student activism.
While the organization's headquarters are in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, Kirk is choosing beaches over "oceanfront property in Arizona." With the move, TPUSA will now plant its flag in Florida, opening up a multitude of possibilities to advance the state's conservative agenda. While the location of the base of operations is not yet known, Orlando looks like a promising destination for TPUSA to set up shop.
In June, Trump launched his re-election campaign in Orlando, giving us a taste of what's to come in 2020. With the Panhandle and much of North Florida expected to be behind the president next fall, Trump's reelection team has shifted their focus to the I-4 corridor.
The coast-to-coast highway runs directly through some of the most purple districts in the state. In 2016, this area was a vital piece of real estate for Trump -- with him carrying 217,000 votes in the 19 counties the comprise the area. The election will be no different in 2020. Trump will need to win Florida in order to secure a second term. Margins will be more important this time around, with Democrats in the state making every effort to oppose Trump in 2020.
“There are few states more important than Florida, and within our state, for many cycles, the I-4 corridor has been the battleground,” Susie Wiles, chairwoman of Trump’s 2016 Florida campaign, told reporters back in June. “To neglect it is to be foolish.”
Enter Mr. Kirk.
With the 19 counties housing the Orlando and Tampa media markets, Kirk and company could be a boom for Trump's re-election campaign if he decides to move to one of these major markets. Over the last few years, Tampa and Orlando have ranked in the top three in terms of the number of political ads run. It's safe to say that Trump will target these commercial areas in an effort to pick off as many moderates as possible.
Factor in Kirk's ability to target young voters through his conservative group, and withdrawal from Illinois makes total sense. While the verdict is still out, expect TPUSA to find a home somewhere in Central Florida.
One state's loss is another's gain, and one leader in Florida is rolling out the red carpet in anticipation of the young activist's arrival.
In a tweet late Monday, Republican Party Chairman Sen. Joe Gruters expressed delight at the news of Kirk's inevitable move, welcoming him to his new "home."
Florida is so glad you have decided to move here with please let us know if you need the to send you a voter registration card. ," the Republican senator wrote on Twitter.
Gruters, a GOP leader and senator from Sarasota, is no stranger to the Trump administration. The head of the RPOF was a vital part of Trump's election 2016, serving as the president's co-chair for his 2016 campaign in Florida.
A fervent Trump supporter, Gruters is expected to play a key part in Trump's re-election next year. As outlined in an article earlier this month, Gruters is championing the fight against illegal immigration in the state. Like Trump and Republicans at a national level, the chair of the RPOF is making immigration a top priority in the state -- mirroring the White House's agenda ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
While Democrats use the crisis at the border to prop up their base and demonize Republicans, Gruters and others in the state are attempting to solve an issue that is spiraling out of control. With his upcoming immigration tour with Rep. Cord Byrd expected to be a big deal in the state, Gruters' mission to continue tackle the controversial issue makes him a valuable asset in 2020.
With Kirk's arrival and Gruters' departure to find answers to the problems that plague the border, this could be a match made in heaven for Trump's 2020 forecast. Expected to use a page out of his 2016 playbook, could the three-headed monster of Trump, Gruters, and Kirk turn Florida into a red meat conservative state?
The possibilities are endless, and that should make many conservatives in the state excited ahead of 2020.