Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Who Can Replace Dick Durbin?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed recently reported a rumor that’s been going around in political circles: “U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin telling pals he might retire in two years.” If Durbin does quit after three terms, here are some possible replacements.

    DEMOCRATS

    DAN HYNES: The ex-comptroller finished second to Barack Obama in the 2004 Senate primary and barely lost to Pat Quinn in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. He’ll only be 45 in 2014 and may be tempted to try again after two close races.

    DAVID HOFFMAN: Former Chicago Inspector General Hoffman finished second to Alexi Giannoulias in the 2010 primary, and his supporters insist he would have won if the primary had been held in March, instead of February. However, he’s too much of a goo-goo to excite minority voters, and no white Chicago Democrat has won a Senate seat since Paul Douglas in 1960.

    TONI PRECKWINKLE:
    The Cook County Board President runs the county that will cast more than half the votes in the Democratic primary, and she’s a Hyde Park liberal in the Obama mold. Would be the favorite to win the primary, but may experience an anti-Cook County backlash in the general election. Drawback: She’ll be 67 years old.

    SHEILA SIMON: It's her father's old seat. On the other hand, she couldn't get elected mayor of Carbondale, and only won statewide as Pat Quinn's running mate.

    KWAME RAOUL:
    Hey, the state senator who used to hold Raoul’s seat also had an exotic name, and he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

    PAT QUINN: Facing certain defeat in his run for a third term as governor, would Quinn decide to switch offices and run for the Senate instead? He ran for this same seat in 1996, when Durbin won. Quinn will be 65.

    JAN SCHAKOWSKY: The North Shore congresswoman considered running for the Senate in 2004. Too liberal for a statewide race.

    REPUBLICANS:

    AARON SCHOCK: He was the youngest congressman, the youngest member of the General Assembly and the youngest trustee of the Peoria School Board. Schock would benefit from the tradition of reserving one Senate seat for a Downstater. A Republican who’s not hung up on racial or cultural issues, Schock has a knack for winning votes from people who don’t agree with him on the issues -- his inner-city Peoria district replaced him with a black Democrat. Plus, he’ll only be 33.

    ADAM KINZINGER:
    Another young Republican congressman, Kinzinger will only be 36 in 2014. Unlike his prospective seatmate, he actually flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He expanded his statewide appeal by beating fellow incumbent Don Manzullo to represent the new 16th District.

    JIM OBERWEIS: Just because we’d like to see him die broke.

    KIRK DILLARD: He really, really, really wants to be governor, like ex-boss, Jim Edgar. But that ship sailed for him in 2010 when he lost the primary to Bill Brady by 193 votes. Dan Rutherford will be the Republican nominee for governor in 2014. So Dillard may as well run for the Senate.