Rumors have cropped up in the past few weeks regarding Sen. Dick Durbin’s potential run for Illinois Governor in 2018, although the senator has called the claims “a waste of time and breath.”
During a Monday appearance on Chicago Tonight, Durbin said he was satisfied in his current role as senator.
“I have a great job to be the senior senator from this state, to be in Washington and help this state in different ways, and I have no other aspirations for any other office,” Durbin said. “And I would beg the people who are doing the speculation right now to cool it.”
“Let’s focus on the immediate need to get a state budget. Let’s not start talking about an election that’s removed from the one that’s coming up in November,” the senator added.
Rumors began to swirl last week as a handful of unnamed sources speculated about Durbin’s run for governor.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has faced a tough first term since taking office in January 2015. The state has faced a lingering budget stalemate that hinges on the governor’s pro-business, union-weakening Turnaround Agenda. Negotiations remain at a critical point as the deadline looms for legislators to pass a state budget next week.
With the embattled governor likely to run as the incumbent on the Republican ticket in 2018, attention has shifted to potential Democratic candidates. The speculated list includes, among others, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs and former Gov. Pat Quinn, according to the Sun-Times.
When pressed on the issue Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to give specifics but stood behind Durbin’s work as a senator.
“He’s been a great senator in helping bring resources back to Chicago on public transportation, on airports, on our parks and our all efforts,” Emanuel said during a press conference kicking off the summer season of Night Out in the Parks. “I’m not sure why you’re asking that except that he has time left of his tenure, but he has been a great advocate and a great public servant whether it was in congress and in the United State Senate.”
Durbin's administration did not immediately respond to Ward Room's request for comment on this story.