Peoria Public Radio News
6:03 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Senator Dick Durbin rallies campaign faithful

Sen. Dick Durbin-D Il, speaks at the Peoria Labor Temple, Thursday, March 20, 2014.
Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate, is traveling the state as a candidate. That may be a reflection of the fact Durbin faces millionaire Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis in the November general election. Oberweis won the Republican primary Tuesday, and spent significant personal money to do it. 

Senator Durbin says he’ won’t take the election for granted. He says he will out-work his opponent, “I travel the state as much or more than most elected officials. And it’s because I love it, I really do, and I’m honored to have this opportunity. He may out spend me, he’s written checks for millions of dollars. But we are going to continue work hard and I we’ve got a lot of friends that know if we tell them it’s important they’ll help us. That’s why here today.”

Durbin was in Decatur, Peoria and Pekin Thursday. He met privately with union leaders in Peoria following his media availability. He met with Democratic leaders in Pekin.

But last week Durbin did a quick turnaround diplomatic trip to Ukraine. After returning from the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday the Senator says he learned news that he says would make his Lithuanian Mother proud.

 “This week Vladimir Putin has announced that Durbin is on his American Enemies List and that I am banned from traveling in Russia, because of all the things I have been saying about him.  As far as being kicked out of Russia, it’s a beautiful country I have been there a few times, just tell Vladimir Putin I’ve been kicked out of better countries than this, " Durbin says. 

He says he was also asked to leave South Africa during the Apartheid.