A potential Democratic candidate in the U.S. Senate race isn't shy about criticizing members of his own party, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin is exploring the possibility of entering the race, saying he can offer more to voters than the two declared Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) and former Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp. Duckworth is the favorite to win the nomination, having already been backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Boykin paints her as an ineffective lawmaker who happens to have the support of the party establishment. "The big political bosses would like to have a coronation," Boykin said. "They would like to (say), 'hey, you know, we pretty much decided who the next Senator in Illinois is going to be.'" Boykin pointed to statistics released by InsideGov, which placed Duckworth as no. 27 on a list of the least effective members of Congress, based on how many of her sponsored bills have been signed into law. Since Duckworth entered Congress in 2013, none of the 12 bills for which she was the primary sponsor passed out of committee. One of Duckworth's staunchest supporters has been Durbin, but Boykin accuses him of ignoring major issues in the state, like gun violence.
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"I think he's been there too long, I think he's a part of the problem in Illinois," Boykin said. "I mean, he talks good, he talks and sounds good and all of that, but when it comes to results and delivering for the people of Illinois, we've got to have a senator that's not afraid to go into the black community and help the black community with the issue of gun violence." As for the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Boykin says he's not focused on him yet. He endorsed Kirk's 2010 Senate bid against then-Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, but didn't want to dwell on the reasons why. "Look, I supported Mark Kirk because the Democrats actually put up a flawed candidate who was tied to a banking scandal," Boykin said. "Elections are about the future, not about the past." Boykin describes himself as a progressive Democrat, and says he's not worried about being associated with people who have supported Republicans, like the chairman of his county commissioner campaign, Willie Wilson, who backed Gov. Bruce Rauner in the 2014 governor's race. "I'm not concerned with that at all. People make decisions on who they will support," Boykin said, adding that he supported Gov. Pat Quinn in that election. Boykin says he'll make a final decision on entering the race by September 9th.