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*** UPDATED x1 *** The Durbin timeline

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* 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.

Your thoughts?

*** 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    Durbin could be exactly what the state needs. He could be a one term Governor, raising revenue (with no fear of re-election).


  2. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    I pray that he would take the challenge. He’s well respected and just might be able to right the ship. I can only hope and pray.


  3. - Conn Smythe - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    Is Durbin a field clearer for Dems? Maybe a QOTD? My vote is no. Based on what other candidates said this week in Philly, they won’t want to wait their turn.


  4. - Coles County Libertarian - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    He would be a viable opponent with name recognition but as mentioned, he’ll be 74 and will he have the “fire in the belly” for a rigourous campaign? And what of a primary opponent?


  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    I’m not sure what’s in it for him.

    The Senate may go December. He could be #2. He could have a president from Illinois (sorta).

    Or he could take on an opponent who’ll say, spend or do anything . If he wins, he’ll take on the trainwreck called Illinois.

    He’d have to love this state a lot


  6. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    Durbin will be a young 74 in my view. I saw him recently and he looks like he’s in good shape.

    The biggest issue for him if Hillary Clinton wins is the coming mid-term election backlash, which would mean serious anti-Democrat headwinds combined with Rauner’s millions. That might prove to be too much, so it’s probably wise to wait until after November to decide.

    Durbin wouldn’t need to match Rauner dollar for dollar, which is good because almost no one can, because Durbin has a brand. It will be hard for Rauner to make him into a caricature or to define him. Sure, Rauner can find plenty of votes Durbin has cast to paint a negative picture, so that’s something to consider.

    There is a smallish but vocal and fairly influential group of statehouse insiders who absolutely loathe him too. I’m not sure that Madigan was ever in that camp, but he knows who I’m referring to. None of those folks would lift a finger to help Durbin, and most would actively root against him. I’ve heard some stories about this, but I’ve never completely figured out the who, and most importantly, the why, behind the bad blood. But it’s there. That might be another reason to stay in DC, although by now, most of those guys are gone.

    As for cleaning up the post-Rauner mess, this is where I think Durbin would excel and is probably the most compelling argument to elect him Governor. It will be a Herculean job cleaning up the statehouse stables after Rauner leaves. I think Durbin is uniquely suited to not only cleaning up the mess, but to healing the divisions in Illinois.


  7. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    10:46 wuz me.


  8. - sal-says - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    == if Madigan never cuts a budget deal). ==

    Madigan? Please.

    ‘Because…Madigan’ as we frequently see here?


  9. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    Hard to know what people will be thinking in 2 years from now. That list, is a list of reasons not to run.

    If current trends continue, is this the best the party can come up with? Seems there might be some attention paid to the other end of the age and ideological spectrum. I guess we’ll see.


  10. - Harry - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    At 74, Durbin should be looking at a victory lap and then a well-deserved retirement. If he were 60, even 65, it would be a different story.


  11. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:03 am:

    Post Rauner mess = current Madigan mess.


  12. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:07 am:

    The more I see “post Rauner mess”, the more I know people just don’t get it in this state…or this blog.

    Post Rauner mess, as in things were so amazing in the pre Rauner mess era.

    Such a joke.


  13. - Very fed up - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:08 am:

    Its possible the democrat house members would be open to listening to the wishes of their constituents and vote someone other than Madigan to be speaker by then.


  14. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:12 am:

    Good for Illinois, but why take on such a mess?


  15. - CLJ - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    It’s a tough call to make to run for governor or stay in the Senate. The key will be about which party controls the Senate after November. Even as Whip, he wouldn’t be able to do a whole lot in the minority as has been the case now and the past several years. Being in the minority party for could be the final years of his Senate tenure would be beyond frustrating.

    On the other hand, he has a strong commitment to Illinois and as governor, in theory, would be in position to make a significant contribution to the state. But as we have seen with the last three administrations, there is little room to get anything done. There is no guarantee that the General Assembly will be any more cooperative than they have been in the past 10 years.

    Regardless of his popularity with voters in the state, he is still a downstate outsider in Chicago political terms. It’s one thing to go to Washington, a totally different one when in the Governor’s Mansion.


  16. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:18 am:

    As Rich emphasized, it is too early for Durbin to work on this. My preference would be for new people, but let’s see who actually wants this job.


  17. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    It’s not every day you hear a guy screaming “We’re #2!” But, here we are.


  18. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    Good question for the Speaker and Senate President as well as a prospective Governor.

    How do you clean up the mess- call it the post Quinn or post Rauner mess or whatever you want.

    We just finished the 3rd legislative session with zero reforms for fixing the mess


  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    This sort of reminds of the calls for Dan Rostenkowski to leave Congress to run for Chicago mayor. He declined and reasoned that his job in Washington was also important.

    Durbin is in a position to succeed Reid as the leader of the Democrats in the US Senate. Why would he switch races to take on the thankless job of being governor during a most difficult time with so many problems?

    Are Blagojevich and Emanuel better off for having left D.C. ??? Admittedly, not exact comparables, but you get the idea.


  20. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    ===Durbin is in a position to succeed Reid as the leader of the Democrats in the US Senate===

    Um, except, no, he’s not. At best, he’ll be succeeding himself.


  21. - anon - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    ‘’and even if he wins, he still has to deal with cleaning up the post-Rauner mess'’

    This should really be labelled the Madigan/Quinn/Blago/Rauner mess, there is so much messed up with this state, and maybe Rauner hasn’t solved its problems, but he hasn’t created them either.


  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===but he hasn’t created them either===

    You been in Timbuktu for the past 19 months?


  23. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    Is there smoke to this story? I just can’t imagine why Durbin would even want to run for governor.


  24. - The Historian - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:39 pm:

    Gotta love 47th Ward. Rich oughta *pay* him to contribute!


  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:57 pm:

    I love Dick Durbin, I really do, but we need fresh blood in the governor’s mansion. Don’t the democrats have any viable new candidates?


  26. - The All Knowing Oz - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 4:05 am:

    Please…what are durbin’s accomplishments that make him a good candidate for Governor??????


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