For one candidate, it’s never too early to start a campaign. Former Democratic candidate for governor Tio Hardiman of Hillside formally announced Wednesday he’ll be running for the U.S. Senate in 2016. The primary for that race is still 20 months away, but Hardiman believes beginning the campaign now will give him an edge over other potential rivals.
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“No one else is talking about running. Michelle Obama mentioned that she may run, but she decided she’s not going to run. I’m not sure if (Illinois Attorney General) Lisa Madigan is gonna run for U.S. Senate,” Hardiman said, “so Tio Hardiman may be the only talk of the town when it comes down to running for the U.S. Senate against Mark Kirk right now.”
Kirk has indicated he will run despite suffering a stroke during his first term. Hardiman believes Kirk is “out of touch” with voters in Illinois, citing Kirk’s votes against raising the minimum wage and extending emergency unemployment benefits.
Hardiman, a former director of the anti-violence group CeaseFire, has never held elected office. He garnered 28 percent of the vote running against Gov. Pat Quinn, winning 30 counties.
Hardiman likely won’t be alone in the Democratic primary. In the last two U.S. Senate races in the state without a Democratic incumbent (2004 and 2010), four Democratic candidates garnered at least 5 percent of the vote in the primary.