Walsh weighing a bid for Durbin's U.S. Senate seat

During the past two elections, Republican Joe Walsh made a lot of waves in the suburbs — first defeating Democrat Melissa Bean of Barrington in 2010 to go to Congress and then losing his 2012 bid against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

So what's next for Walsh?

“I'm still considering a run in 2014,” said Walsh, now a WIND-AM talk show host who hinted at a run for governor days after his 2012 loss.

The McHenry Tea Party favorite says he's keeping his options open, but the only race he named Thursday was U.S. Senate.

“It's probably the race that I'm most seriously considering,” Walsh said, adding he'll decide within a month.

Three's a crowd?

So far, Republicans Doug Truax of Downers Grove and Chad Koppie of Gilberts have talked about a 2014 bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield.

Truax has been a fairly active candidate so far and is in the race “no matter who enters the Republican primary,” said his spokesman,Dan Curry.

Alma mater

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, gave a keynote address this week at a Women's Equality Day lunch at West Point, where the Army veteran once attended.

Ives' son, Nick, attends now.

Included in the speech: “In my short tenure in the Illinois State Legislature, my training at West Point has been vital to being able to stand on principle. If only there was some form of pre-election boot camp for aspiring politicians.”

Local faithful start talking

The local Republican faithful of Dundee Township so far prefer businessman Bruce Rauner for governor, according to a straw poll at a picnic Sunday.

About 70 people voted, with Rauner getting about half and state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale getting about 41 percent. State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa split the rest.

So does it mean anything? Much like the famed straw poll of Ames, Iowa, even if it doesn't, it's still fun to talk about.

Dundee Township includes Carpentersville, East Dundee and West Dundee and parts of Elgin, Hoffman Estates and Algonquin.

Just a little sample

Precinct committeeman and East Dundee Village Trustee Allen Skillicorn, who arranged for the straw poll, said he was “kind of shocked” by Brady's small numbers given he ran for the same office three years ago and other polls have suggested he's right in the mix.

Still, Skillicorn said the poll is probably skewed a little because it was taken by a small selection of GOP die-hards.

“Most of them are either activists, candidates or active in the party,” Skillicorn said.

Rauner, Dillard and Brady all spoke at the event, but after people already had voted.

Guess who?

Some candidates for governor could be looking to announce their running mates next week, and Dillard has been dropping hints.

He's told downstate newspapers and radio that the pick he'll announce next week is a downstate woman with ties to the agriculture community and deep southern Illinois.

Like his opponents, Dillard has been silent about actual names. But more than one observer has pointed out that state Rep. Jil Tracy, a Quincy Republican, fits his hints.

Tracy is the sister-in-law of Don Tracy, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 and lost out on the Illinois GOP chairman job to Rosemont Village Trustee Jack Dorgan earlier this summer.

Proft isn't running

Dan Proft told me a few weeks ago he was weighing a run for governor, but now he isn't, according to a statement at the conservative blog Illinois Review.

The former Wheaton resident and WLS-AM talk show host said he'll be working on backing certain Republican Statehouse candidates instead. He's part of the Illinois Opportunity Project, which has said it's working to draft conservative candidates.

“I feel a bit odd making a statement about something I am not going to do,” Proft says in the statement. “However, since I have been openly contemplating another run for Illinois governor, it is appropriate I make my decision known for clarity's sake and for the sake of generous supporters past and present.”

Pension preview?

There's no telling what, if anything, state lawmakers will do with the state's $100 billion in public pension debt in the rest of the year, but the outline of a plan that's been floating around so far doesn't include an idea that's been controversial in the suburbs — having local school districts pick up the costs of teachers' retirements.

That could change, but that's the situation so far.

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Doug Truax
Chad Koppie
Allen Skillicorn
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