Durbin Facebook post drawing heat from GOP

October 25, 2013

Friday night Durbin is getting surprising support from one Republican here in Illinois.

As Durbin is accused of worsening the gridlock in Washington, his political and personal friendship with the Illinois junior senator pays dividends.

At home in Illinois away from the partisan fight in Washington, Republican Senator Mark Kirk defended Dick Durbin, his Democratic counterpart, friend and frequent legislative partner.

"I would say that as a newer junior senator, he has done right by me in working together," Kirk said.

Senator Durbin, expected to run for his fourth term next year, wrote on Facebook that during a White House meeting a Republican congressman, later identified as Pete Sessions of Texas, told President Obama that, "I cannot even stand to look at you."

First, the White House said the incident never happened, then said the version offered by Durbin, who did not attend the meeting in question, resulted from a "miscommunication."

"When you get to a place where you take a story that you didn't verify and you run with it, that's a new low," said Republican Senate candidate Doug Truax.

Truax is one of at least three self-described conservative Republicans who'd like to run against Durbin in 2014.

"People are so tired of the old democratic way that he represents and I think he's a lot more liberal than most democrats now," Truax said.

Other declared GOP primary candidates include Rockton truck driver William Lee and Kane County farmer Chad Koppie.

And earlier this week, State Senator Jim Oberweis said in Springfield he might challenge Durbin.

"If we get enough petitions signed to file in time, I will be there as a candidate to retire him permanently," Oberweis said.

"I think democracy is a good thing," Kirk said.

Senator Kirk said all political leaders should have to work for re-election. But his advice to Truax, Oberweis and others, beating Durbin will be difficult.

"Long road, Long road to knock off a sitting Senate incumbent," said Kirk.

Senator Durbin still has not formally declared his candidacy for re-election but has said many times during interviews that he will run.

He is not expected to have any viable challengers, if any, in the March, 2014 democratic primary.

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