Oberweis: Sign my petitions, and I’ll ‘retire’ Dick Durbin
BY DAVE McKINNEY Springfield bureau chief October 23, 2013 6:55PM
State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, announces to a large crowd in the rotunda that he would run against U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin if enough petitions were signed to get on the ballot Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. | Jessica Koscielniak / Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: November 25, 2013 1:26PM
SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Jim Oberweis, a five-time electoral loser before winning a state Senate seat last year, said Wednesday he will take on U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin next year if he can gather enough signatures from voters by December.
Oberweis, 67, made his announcement at a Statehouse rally staged by the Illinois Family Institute to build opposition to legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage, a measure Oberweis opposes.
“Several people have asked me today if I’m going to run for the U.S. Senate against Dick Durbin. The short answer is if we get enough petitions signed to file in time, I will be there as a candidate to retire him permanently,” Oberweis said, drawing a loud cheer from the crowd.
There is a fairly minimal threshold Oberweis must meet in order to be on next year’s Republican ballot.
To run for U.S. Senate, he would have to gather a minimum of 5,000 signatures from registered voters and submit no more than 10,000 signatures by Dec. 2.
Oberweis circulated nominating petitions at Wednesday’s rally.
Before winning a three-way state Senate primary early last year and going on to win the general election, he had laid electoral goose eggs, losing five previous times dating back to 2002. He mounted losing campaigns to be a U.S. senator, Illinois governor and a congressman — twice.
Since being seated in the state Senate, Oberweis scored one significant legislative success by passing a measure to boost speed limits on non-urban interstates to 70 mph.
Durbin’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment about Oberweis’ possible U.S. Senate campaign.