* Lynn Sweet and Tina Sfondeles on Sen. Durbin’s possible gubernatorial bid decision-making timeline…
[US Sen. Dick Durbin] has some priorities and they go in this sequence. He wants to first win re-election as whip.
About a week after the November election, senators vote for their leaders, including whip. Last March, Reid announced he would not seek another term. Reid anointed Sen. Chuck Schumer D-NY as his heir. Things got a bit messy for a bit when Durbin had to scramble to make sure he locked in the support from his fellow senators to retain his No. 2 spot.
Looks like Durbin is in good shape in his whip race. But it’s never a good idea to run for more than one office at a time. [Emphasis added.]
In other words, we’ll know more about this topic sometime after that whip election is complete. It’s a big decision with huge consequences, so it won’t be taken lightly.
Keep in mind, however, that Durbin will be almost 74 come election day, 2018. He hasn’t had a tough race since his first US Senate bid 20 years ago. And he’s never seen anything like the unlimited-funding Rauner attacks.
And even if he wins, he still has to deal with cleaning up the post-Rauner mess (which could be gargantuan if Madigan never cuts a budget deal). And he’ll have to find a way to get along with Speaker Madigan - who is not generally a “helpful” guy when it comes to running government and has not exactly been Durbin’s greatest fan, no matter what he says about Durbin these days.
*** UPDATE *** CNN…
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin declined Wednesday to rule out a run for Illinois governor in 2018, saying whether his colleagues will reelect him as the Democrat’s No. 2 will factor into his decision. […]
Speculation in Illinois political circles has mounted over the past several weeks about Durbin, who is not up for reelection in the Senate until 2020, and as Democrats look for a challenger against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner next cycle. If the influential Democrat left the Senate, it would reorder Illinois politics and create an opening in the party leadership hierarchy in the chamber.
Durbin acknowledged that whether he stays as the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat after November could weigh on his decision.
“Of course,” Durbin said when asked if the outcome of leadership elections would impact his choice. “I want to continue to serve as whip of the caucus. I think I have support within the caucus. But I am not even campaigning for whip at this point…. I have to focus on this election.”
One election at a time.