My thoughts about the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Illinois

At this point, I am currently undecided on who to support in next year’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate here in Illinois between incumbent U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois State Representative Anne Stava-Murray.

Durbin has represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate since winning the open-seat 1996 U.S. Senate election in Illinois, and he hasn’t had to run a serious campaign for either the Democratic nomination or the general election since then, as Illinois has become a Democratic-leaning state, and Durbin usually outruns a typical Democratic baseline in Illinois. Durbin hasn’t really faced a significant intra-party challenge that I can recall.

Regarding Durbin’s voting record in the Senate, there isn’t a whole lot that I’d disagree with Durbin on, although there’s probably a few votes here or there where I’d disagree with Durbin, but I can’t name any recent ones off the top of my head, aside from his votes to confirm some members of Donald Trump’s cabinet. However, Durbin is not a progressive’s progressive by any means; for example, Durbin is opposed to Medicare-for-All, a single-payer health insurance system.

Regarding my thoughts about Stava-Murray’s campaign, I do have a mixed opinion about her campaign so far.

There are some positive things about Stava-Murray that I can say about her. Stava-Murray is a staunch intra-party critic of the Democratic machine in Illinois, even going as far as to vote against Mike Madigan, the longtime Illinois State House Speaker who is a corrupt machine politician, for state house speaker. Stava-Murray is also a Medicare-for-All supporter. In her very short time as a state representative, Stava-Murray has supported legislation to allow for the Mayor of Chicago, members of the Chicago City Council, and the Cook County State’s Attorney to be removed from office in a recall election, and that is legislation that I support.

However, I do have some concerns about Stava-Murray’s U.S. Senate bid, the main one being whether or not she is able to build a campaign organization that can compete in a statewide Democratic primary in Illinois. While the Chicago metro area casts the vast majority of the votes in Democratic primaries in Illinois, there are many Democratic voters in downstate Illinois as well, so a campaign has to have a statewide presence to win a Democratic primary in Illinois.

I am not going to endorse a candidate for U.S. Senate here in Illinois at this time, although I do intend to vote in the Democratic primary, and, if she were to be successful in getting her name on the ballot, I would be open to supporting Anne Stava-Murray’s bid for U.S. Senate here in Illinois.