5 Republicans vying for long-shot chance to unseat Durbin

CHICAGO (AP) — Five Republicans are vying for the chance to mount a long-shot challenge to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in the sole statewide race on Tuesday’s primary ballot.

Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, was first elected in 1996 and has handily won each election since then. He also has $4.5 million cash on hand. All the other Republican candidates combined make up only a fraction of that.

But former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who has perhaps the most name recognition, contends there’s a changed political climate and Durbin is vulnerable.

“He’s become a creature of Washington,” Curran said during a candidate forum on WTTW-TV. “He works for the Democrats in the Senate. He’s in a leadership role and his paramount concern is to please them.”

Curran, who leads in endorsements, was previously a Democrat but switched parties in 2008.

Two others have also switched parties.

Perennial candidate Robert Marshall, a Burr Ridge doctor, previously ran as a Democrat, including for governor.

Peggy Hubbard of Belleville, a former police officer, said she became a Republican after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in part because of how former President Barack Obama handled it.

Hubbard sparked a police investigation when she claimed during a candidate forum at a school that she brought a gun and ammunition with her to illustrate safety lapses. Hubbard later said she misspoke.

The other Republicans are Tom Tarter, a retired cancer surgeon from Springfield, and Casey Chlebek, a Glenview man originally from Poland who works in real estate.

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