Since I have seen diaries speculating on the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, and since we know that Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic Majority Whip, is on the so-called "Gang of Eight" on reducing the deficit, I figure that we ought to be ready to primary him if he does vote yes to ANY Simpson-Bowles style Grand Bargain or have a viable replacement for him if Durbin decides to retire as it has been rumored.
Last summer, the NBC affiliate in Chicago had a blog post stating that friends of Durbin had said that he might retire in 2014. The blog post named potential successors (it looked at both Democrats and Republicans) but since Illinois is a solidly blue state and 2010 had bad circumstances, a Tea Party wave and a really bad Democratic candidate, I don't see 2014 as having any GOP pickup potential for that seat even if Durbin retires or is primaried out for voting yes on a Grand Bargain betrayal.
The first name that comes up is Dan Hynes who is 44, and was Illinois Comptroller from 1999-2011. Hynes finished 2nd to Barack Obama in 2004 in the Democratic primary and barely lost in 2010 in primary against the current Illinois governor Pat Quinn. By checking VoteSmart and his public statements when he was running for governor in 2010, Hynes is pro-choice, pro-LGBT, wants to reduce greenhouse gases but believes in "clean coal". For the record, there is no such thing as "clean coal". I cannot seem to find any recent position on earned benefits, but one of the things he was running on in 2010 was proper Medicaid funding.
Another contender is David Hoffman, who lost to that really bad Senate candidate in 2010. Hoffman is a former prosecutor and was Inspector General for Chicago. From his background, I don't see Hoffman playing nice with the banksters. Looking over a diary from 2010 on Hoffman in that primary, Hoffman is quite progressive. Very pro-LGBT, strongly pro-choice and had progressive stances on Afghanistan. Overall I like Hoffman on issues but I think that losing to a bad candidate in a primary doesn't say much about his ability to campaign.
Another name is Toni Preckwinkle, who is the Cook County Board President. She's currently 65. Preckwinkle supports living wages, for gun control. Preckwinkle has a long history with Obama as one of his early supporters when Obama was running for state office. A New Yorker article noted that she had concerns about Obama being "disloyal" to progressives. Preckwinkle already said no to running for governor in 2014so she may not want to run for Senate either. But it be would see to see a progressive, African-American woman in there. Of course, it might be challenge for her to get downstate votes.
Another female candidate could be Sheila Simon, daughter of the former Illinois Senator. As the Lt. Governor, she may be dragged down by Quinn's unpopularity. Simon is pro-choice, and preventing domestic violence is a big issue with her from judging some of the VoteSmart public statements. Simon could be a great candidate for downstate but she might be dragged down by Quinn.
Yet another potential candidate is Kwame Raoul. Raoul is a State Senator who was appointed to fill Obama's seat when Obama won his Senate race in 2004. Raoul has helped expand early voting and has enacted numerous progressive policies. Checking VoteSmart, voted yes to Smart Grid Technology, voted yes to limiting artificial trans fats and voted yes to Medical Cannabis. Among the ratings on issues: in 2007, the Illlinois LCV(League of Conservation Voters) gave Raoul a 67% rating, the NRA has consistently given him a 0% or an F(The NRA is of course a Republican interest group), the Illinois AFL-CIO has consistenly given him ratings of over 90% and in 2011, gave him a positions rating of 100%. Raoul would be a great candidate for 2014 IMHO
The last one mentioned by that article was Jan Schakowsky Schakowsky is a progressive Congressperson who has been in Congress since 1999. Nobody would doubt her progressive cred. She opposed the war in Iraq, and she supports single payer. The article said she would be too liberal for a statewide election, but I would feel relieved if she were the nominee since I don't see her supporting any Simpson-Bowles bullshit.
I will also add a few other possible names too:
Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios: Was the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the Illinois House. She's still young(35) but a female Latina nominee for Senate would be quite awesome.
Iris Martinez would be another good choice. She's 56 and was the first Latina elected to the Illinois State Senate. She is the Assistent Majority Leader in the State Senate and would be quite qualified to be a U.S Senator.
Of course, I would like to hear from Kossacks in Illinois that have a better feel for their state. Please correct me or feel free to add your own potential Senate candidates.
6:11 PM PT: I should add that I hope that I am wrong here and Dick Durbin ultimately rejects a Grand Bargain that reduces earned benefits. I also understand that this is more hypothetical, and I am just looking at candidates more in case Durbin retires.
Durbin has had a very good progressive record and I am disappointed that he has seemed to be with the Simpson-Bowles phony Democrats.
And following the criticisms of JeffW and psilocynic, I will focus more of my energy regarding Durbin trying to change his mind now rather than talk about primarying him. I am very open to suggestions from my fellow Kossacks as to where Daily Kos can apply pressure to Durbin to preserve our earned benefits and reject the Simpson-Bowles worthless garbage.