News Local/State

Durbin Apparently Considering Run For Governor In 2018

US Sen. Dick Durbin

US Sen. Dick Durbin, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

It’s no longer mere speculation; U-S Senator Dick Durbin appears to be mulling a run for governor.

Durbin spoke to the Illinois delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, during its Thursday morning meeting. And some of his comments were squarely aimed at his would-be opponent, Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Durbin says what Rauner has done to Illinois is “inexcusable, and unacceptable.”

“He has hurt more innocent people with his so-called Turnaround Agenda,” said Durbin. “It would be one thing if all he hurt were millionaires like himself. I’d say, well, suck it up buddy, that must be what you believe. But the victims and casualties along the way …”

It’s the sort of talk that lends credence to the idea he’s gearing up for a campaign.  But … not so fast.  Durbin says he’s focused on this year's election first. And then?

“You know, I’ll talk it over with my wife, make a decision, and you know make an announcement,” said Durbin, who turns 72 in November. “I’m not going to be coy about this but I’m not going to make an announcement today.”

But candidate or not, Durbin says he's angry that Governor Bruce Rauner's agenda has caused so much harm to the state.

“I go down to southern Illinois and have Republican mayors tell me the devastating impact of this budget impact on their local economy," said Durbin. "Losing jobs, people losing value in their homes, it is unacceptable.”

Rauner, a Republican, has said he plans to run for a second term in 2018. He blames Democrats for stalling his controversial plans to weaken labor unions and to encourage economic growth. Rauner says change is hard, and there will be critics along the way.

(This piece was expanded at 2:53 AM, 7/28/16).