Durkin plans to seek House minority post
By JANE MICHAELS | firstname.lastname@example.org July 25, 2013 10:18PM
Updated: September 2, 2013 6:11AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — State Rep. Jim Durkin, R-82nd, of Western Springs, hasn’t changed his plans as a result of Lisa Madigan’s announcement she won’t run for governor.
Democrat Madigan instead declared she will seek a third term as Illinois Attorney General in 2014, while her father, Michael, indicated he wants to continue on as Illinois House Speaker.
Durkin at one time expressed interest in seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general, but stepped aside in May when Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-97th, Oswego, said he wanted the job.
“It would not be the best thing for the party to have a drawn-out primary,” Durkin said. “Tom Cross was pretty committed.”
Durkin then switched course to seek the House minority leader’s post, also of interest to Reps. Raymond Poe of Springfield and Dwight Kay of Edwardsville.
When Madigan said she wanted to keep her current job, Cross announced he wasn’t interested in running against her.
Neither is Durkin.
“I think not, running for attorney general,” he said. “I ran against a popular incumbent in 2002 and I’m not going to engage in that type of endeavor again.”
He referred to his unsuccessful challenge of Democrat Dick Durbin for U.S. Senate in 2002.
But Durkin said he plans to stay in the mix for House minority leader, even if it becomes a four-way contest.
“Ultimately, the 47 Republican members of the House will decide,” he said. “I’ll continue on talking to my colleagues, raising money and helping Republicans get elected.”
Durkin said a number of his Republican colleagues are looking for a change.
“I don’t know the pulse of the caucus. There’s some anxiety, and some members are confused about what’s happened the last few months,” he said. “It seems the model hasn’t been working.”
In the meantime, lawmakers have plenty to focus on and may be called back in session before Labor Day to deal with the state’s pension crisis, he said.