Election Results: Durbin Holds Off 4 Challengers To Win 5th Term

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This article was updated at 11:24 a.m. Wednesday

ILLINOIS — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Springfield) earned a fifth term in office after seeing off four challengers Tuesday night for his seat.

Durbin faced Republican Mark Curran, Green Party candidate David F. Black, Libertarian Danny Malouf and Willie Wilson, who is running under the Willie Wilson Party banner.

The Associated Press declared Durbin the winner within 20 minutes of polls closing Tuesday night. With more than 5.2 million votes counted, Durbin had picked up 52.3 percent of the vote, while Curran had 40.9 percent, according to unofficial election results.

Election Results 2020: Illinois Races To Watch

Wilson had 3.9 percent, Malouf had 1.9 percent and Black had 0.9 percent and Malouf has 0.8 percent of the vote.

Durbin thanked his supporters in a statement after he was declared the race's winner.

“To those who supported my election: thank you for once again trusting me to represent you, your family and our home state of Illinois. It is an honor," Durbin said. "And for those who were on the other side, thank you for your participation in our election. I pledge that I will listen honestly to your thoughts and work with you to bind the wounds of our nation."

"Now we have work to do to vanquish this virus and rebuild our broken economy. I am ready for the challenge," Durbin continued.

Curran conceded the race to Durbin around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, saying he won most of the state's counties but got "killed" by the "blue wall way up north" in Illinois.

"We did great," Curran said, while acknowledging he was trailing by about 200,000 votes at that point.

In his concession speech and in a call with reporters after the race was over, Curran spoke about Durbin's age (75) and said he'll "meet his maker soon enough."

“You’re gonna meet God really soon, buddy,” Curran said to Durbin in his short concession speech. “And my hope is that you’ll meet God, at this point in time, where you exist in life.”

“You haven’t done right by Illinois; you haven’t done right by the citizens; you haven’t done right by your state,” Curran continued.

Wilson released a short statement Wednesday morning on Facebook thanking his supporters for helping him earn "more votes than any independent U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois history."

"We are a voice that cannot be ignored," Wilson said. "I will never give up on inclusion and equality for all."

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Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democratic senator, recently slammed President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the Senate for prioritizing Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court over coronavirus relief for Americans.

Health care workers across Illinois are also “looking for a helping hand from Washington,” Durbin said Monday in an interview with PBSNewsHour. “And here we are doing what? Five straight days on one Supreme Court nominee, not a minute being spent to find the solution to this coronavirus challenge.”

Durbin was one of the leading voices against Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was finalized Monday. He has said Barrett’s confirmation jeopardizes the Affordable Care Act, which he has called “one of the most important votes” of his career.

Campaigning in the wake of mass protests across the U.S. in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other Black citizens, Durbin has pointed to his work on criminal justice reform.

Durbin in 2018 was a sponsor of the First Step Act, which his campaign calls “the most significant criminal justice reform legislation in decades.

Durbin faced no competition in the Democratic primary in March.

Mark Curran, who served as Lake County sheriff for a dozen years, said he would give Trump a B- grade for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, putting much of the responsibility on long-serving members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Curran said he does not support a nationwide mask mandate, as he believes each state has the constitutional right to forge its own response to the pandemic. He has called for states to reopen, warning about the long-term effects of shutdowns on small businesses.

Curran has said his biggest priority as a senator would be to roll back business regulations and lower taxes. He also said he wants to enact tort reform, saying it’s the only way to address health care costs.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board endorsed the former sheriff, saying he would be a senator who is “Illinois-centric, not Washington-centric.”

Curran easily topped a five-person field to earn the Republican Party’s nomination to face Durbin, earning 41.6 percent of the vote.

David Black, a retired attorney, ran as a member of the Green Party to unseat Durbin. He is the only candidate in the field to advocate for a single-payer health care system.

During a recent NBC 5 candidate forum, Black said he believes “we need to get away from private insurance,” particularly after millions of people lost their health coverage over the past seven months as they were laid off from their jobs.

The Affordable Care Act is failing Americans and Illinois residents due to flaws that were written into the system and Republican efforts to undermine it, Black said, calling for “improved Medicare for all.”

Black’s platform also supported a $20 federal minimum wage, affordable housing for all, 75 percent spending cuts for the military and a variety of green-infrastructure initiatives, including electric mass transit, environmentally beneficial buildings and a ban on fracking.

Willie Wilson, who recently got the endorsement of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, ran as a third-party candidate to replace Durbin. The Chicago businessman unsuccessfully ran for Chicago mayor in 2015 and 2019. He also ran for president in 2016.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Wilson has been critical of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders and offered to pay fines for churches that violated the order. Wilson has also made headlines for handing out masks to various communities.

Wilson said during the NBC 5 forum that he has handed out 27 million masks so far.

“Sen. Dick Durbin didn’t give away any,” Wilson said.

Danny Malouf, the Libertarian Party candidate, is a human resources manager who called for an end to the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, saying he doesn’t believe there should be any national health care plan. He was the only candidate that did not say pre-existing conditions should be covered under all insurance plans.

Malouf said he supports ending all government-mandated shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we need to understand is the government is not the solution to our problems; the government is the problem,” Malouf said during the NBC 5 forum, calling for governments to “localize decision-making and spending as close to the individual as possible.”

Unlike his competitors, Malouf said he did not see an issue with the U.S. Supreme Court taking another look at the ruling in the landmark Roe v. Wade case that protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restrictions.

“I’m not necessarily a fan of Roe v. Wade because of the federal overreach,” Malouf said.

Campaign finance records show Durbin significantly outraised and outspent his four opponents. The incumbent senator raised just under $10 million for his re-election campaign and has spent $8.6 million.

Wilson is the closest to Durbin, bringing in just over $3 million and spending about $1 million, while Curran’s campaign has spent nearly 96 percent of the $314,000 it raised.

Malouf has raised about $12,000 and spent about $11,000, while there are no campaign finance records for Black's campaign.

This article originally appeared on the Across Illinois Patch

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