Ron Kirk Likely to Head USTR
By Al Kamen
President-elect Barack Obama is expected tomorrow to announce the last three cabinet-level picks for his new administration in Chicago, with outgoing Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) getting the nod as secretary of transportation, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) to be named secretary of labor and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk likely to pick up the U.S. Trade Representative portfolio.
Kirk was widely touted by national Democrats during his 2002 race for the seat being vacated by Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm. Democrats saw Kirk, former Texas secretary of state, as a business-friendly African American who could get elected in the South. Kirk won his 1995 race for mayor of Dallas with 62 percent of the vote and was re-elected in 1999 with an overwhelming 74 percent of the vote in 1999.
But he came up well short in his race to replace Sen. Phil Gramm (R) in 2001, losing to Sen. John Cornyn by 12 points. After that, Kirk returned to practicing law and lobbying.
Posted at 2:50 PM ET on Dec 18, 2008
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