Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Springfield) definitively said he will not be a candidate for governor of Illinois in 2018 against Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Durbin made the statement in response to a question from a volunteer after giving a pep talk to more than 30 people gathered at the campaign office of state Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) in Deerfield on October 27.
“I have priorities I want to accomplish in the Senate,” said Durbin. “There are other good people out there. If I take a step back hopefully some of them will emerge and step up.”
Morrison said it was the first time she heard Durbin say he was not running for governor.
One potential gubernatorial candidate Durbin mentioned by name in a DailyNorthShore.com interview was Christopher G. Kennedy of Kenilworth, a former chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
The son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), Chris Kennedy is also the chairman of the Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc., the investment firm of the Kennedy Family, according to Kennedy’s LinkedIn profile.
“I’ve encouraged him to get out there and talk to people around the state,” said Durbin.
Durbin also spoke highly of United States Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker of Chicago, though he said he has not discussed the possibility of a run with her.
“She’s terrific,” said Durbin. “She has done a wonderful job for President (Barack) Obama.”
Rumors of a possible Durbin candidacy to run against Rauner first surfaced over the summer, according to a story on Politico. He said then he would make a decision after the November 8 general election. He said during his DNS interview on Thursday that he has hinted he would not run but this was the first time he said no.
Durbin said he wants to help pass legislation on medical research, criminal justice reform and ensure the DREAM Act becomes law. The DREAM Act will allow undocumented residents brought into the United States by their parents in childhood to gain permanent residency. He first introduced the DREAM Act in 2001.