Know the options: 2020 Illinois Senate Election

By George Wiebe, Staff Reporter

One of the most high-profile races on the ballot in Illinois is the U.S. Congressional Senate seat, between Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin and Republican party nominee Mark Curran.

Below is a summary of the two candidates’ history serving in public office as well as their stated plans for the next six years in the U.S. Senate. 

Dick Durbin-Democrat


Dick Durbin has served four terms in the Senate, starting in 1997. He was last elected in 2014.

Durbin, who graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1969, formerly served as counsel to the Illinois State Senate Judiciary Committee and later in the House of Representatives, serving the 20th district of Illinois.

Durbin now sits on four Senate committees, the Committees on Rules and Administration, Appropriations, the Judiciary and Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry.

Some key votes exemplifying the Senator’s record in recent years include his 2017 vote in favor of S722, a bill providing congressional review of how to respond to acts of aggression by Iran, Russia and North Korea. The bill passed 98-2.

In 2018, Durbin voted in favor of a joint resolution proposing the removal of U.S. armed forces from the Republic of Yemen “not approved by Congress;” the resolution passed 56-41.

On a more domestic front, Durbin voted against the appointment of President Trump’s last two Supreme Court judicial appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Durbin voted in 2018 to approve funding for agricultural support until the 2023 fiscal year. 


Durbin also voted in favor of the 2018 immigration reform bill providing a legal path to citizenship for anyone brought into the U.S. as a child, while also providing $25 billion for border security, and putting greater limitations on “chain immigration.”

More recently, in a 51-43 vote, Durbin supported S4653, a bill meant to keep the Department of Justice from advocating against the removal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

We know that access to health care and protections for pre-existing conditions are in jeopardy as Senate Republicans rush to confirm a new Trump Supreme Court nominee who has a record of criticizing cases that upheld the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality,” Durbin said in a recent press release.

Durbin’s platform prioritizes affordable health care, immigration reform, as well as criminal justice reform.

Mark Curran-Republican

Mark Curran is an attorney who graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and served as a sheriff with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. He also worked as a senior prosecutor with Lake County’s attorney’s office.

Curran has no history in politics and has no voting record.

According to Curran’s official election website, his reason for running is to replace the “political dinosaur Dick Durbin.”  

I am running for U.S. Senate in 2020 because our faith, our freedoms and our values are under assault from establishment elites,” Curran said on his official campaign website.

Curran’s platform focuses on conservative issues such as “opposing socialized medicine,” working with neighboring countries to reduce illegal immigration into the U.S., reducing the federal debt and promoting “pro-life” policy, according to his campaign information.

Curran was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune.

“The state of Illinois and its problems would be his top priority in Washington,” said the Tribune editorial board.

(See more: Editorial: Republican Mark Curran Jr. for U.S. Senate ).

Curran has also been endorsed by former Congressman Bob Dold and Randy Hultgren, as well as the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald.

Staff reporter George Wiebe can be reached at [email protected]

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