Whoever wins the Democratic nomination in next year’s U.S. Senate race will have the support of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). That’s despite the close relationship Durbin has developed with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), but he doesn’t think the campaign politics will affect how they get along through November 2016. “I don’t think so,” Durbin said. “We continued to work together after he endorsed my opponent in the last election. That’s part of the occupational hazard of being an incumbent senator.”
Kirk initially said he wouldn’t campaign for Durbin’s 2014 challenger, State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), then reversed course and endorsed Oberweis, though Kirk’s support was rarely evident during the race. Durbin went on to beat Oberweis by a large margin, while Kirk’s own bid for reelection is expected to be a closer race. Only one Democratic candidate, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates), has officially entered the race. Durbin says “she’s a strong candidate,” but he isn’t ruling the possibility of another Democrat challenging her for the nomination.