Durbin defeats Oberweis to keep Senate seat

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) gives a victory speech to a room full of his supporters Tuesday evening after defeating Republican Jim Oberweis.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) gives a victory speech to a room full of his supporters Tuesday evening after defeating Republican Jim Oberweis.

By Rachel White

Long-time U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has secured his seat in Congress for six more years. In his fourth consecutive win, he defeated Republican Jim Oberweis Tuesday.

At 11:30 p.m. Durbin led with 53 percent to Oberweis’s 43%.

Durbin said when Oberweis, the local dairy mogul, called him to congratulate him, he told the Illinois state senator that he would “start eating Oberweis ice cream.”

Andrea Simone, who starred in one of Durbin’s campaign ads, was first to speak at the senator’s reception in the packed Westin Chicago River North ballroom.

Simone said she met Durbin at a VA hospital while she was caring for her husband who was injured in Afghanistan.

“After [my husband] was injured I have felt nothing but supported,” Simone said. Durbin played a large role the support, she said.

“He wants to see my family succeed.”

Simone said the word “politician” generally comes with a negative connotation these days, but she said Durbin refutes that.

Laurence Hart, a longtime supporter of Durbin agreed.

Hart said the most important issue facing Americans right now is the state of the economy. “[Durbin] needs to undo what’s been done,” he said.

Hart worked as a compensation manager for the majority of his life and said he supports the senator because he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, “he’ll battle in Washington,” he said.

A battle that could get harder to fight — Durbin started today as the second most powerful Democrat in the United States Senate in his role as Majority Whip. While he’ll still powerful, he will now be in the minority, following tonight’s elections.

Supporters listen to the Sen. Durbin give his victory speech.
Supporters listen to the Sen. Durbin give his victory speech.

That’s why Frances Domanskis thinks Durbin will continue to be a great fit for Congress.

Domanskis said finding politicians to serve that are willing to cross party lines to ensure that bipartisan legislation gets passed is imperative.

She said some politicians are so focused on one issue that they sacrifice policy that would ultimately serve the majority of Americans.

“[Some politicians] will shut down the government to avoid compromise,” she said.

Durbin touched on a number of issues during his victory speech including: immigration reform, minimum wage increases and his support for labor unions.

Durbin’s win was not a surprise. He maintained a comfortable lead over Oberweis in the polls throughout the campaign.