A former Democratic candidate for governor is now eyeing a run at the U.S. Senate. Tio Hardiman unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in this year’s primary, garnering 28 percent of the vote against Gov. Pat Quinn. Hardiman is now forming an exploratory committee for 2016 U.S. Senate race. Should Hardiman win the Democratic nomination, his likely opponent would be U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.), who has said he’ll seek re-election despite suffering a stroke during his first term.
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Hardiman doesn’t believe Kirk’s disability will factor into the race. “I don’t think his disabilities provide any challenge,” Hardiman said. “I think Senator Kirk, you know, he does the best he can do. You know, (we’re) all human. I could have a disability one day, so I don’t look at that.” Hardiman, of Hillside, has never held political office; his only experience as a candidate coming in the primary challenge against Quinn. He is most notable for serving as the director of the anti-violence organization CeaseFire. Hardiman says anti-violence policies would be a major part of his campaign platform.
Hardiman likely won’t be the only Democrat seeking to run against Kirk. In the last two U.S. Senate races in Illinois without a Democratic incumbent (2004 and 2010), four Democratic candidates garnered at least 5 percent of the vote in the primary.