Months after Trump pardon, Casey Urlacher files to run for state Senate seat

Just months after being pardoned by then-President Donald Trump while facing illegal gambling charges, newly reelected Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher again is setting his sights on higher office, submitting paperwork to run for state Senate.

Urlacher on Thursday filed a statement of organization that reactivates his Citizens for Urlacher political committee. It allows Urlacher, a Republican, to run in 2022 for the 26th state Senate District seat, a post now held by Senate GOP Leader Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods.

Every state House and state Senate seat will be up for election next year because of redistricting prompted by population changes in the 2020 census. And because of residency requirements, that might affect who runs in which district.

McConchie first was elected to the Senate in 2016 and won reelection in 2018. He couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

McConchie defeated Urlacher and Barrington Hills' Martin McLaughlin, now a state representative, in the 2016 Republican primary for the Senate seat.

Urlacher, who also couldn't be reached Friday, was among 73 people pardoned by Trump during the president's final hours in office. Urlacher was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2020 on allegations he took part in an illegal sports gambling business.

Urlacher is the younger brother of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. The elder Urlacher visited the White House and met with Trump last year, months before the pardon. He even posted a photograph of himself with Trump in the Oval Office on Instagram.

Casey Urlacher was the only one of 10 people charged in the case to receive a pardon.

McConchie questioned the pardon in a statement at the time.

"Pardons should be done on the merits of the case, not based on a relationship with the president," he said. "This sort of practice undermines the public's faith in our system. We're supposed to be a nation of laws, not one based on people getting benefits just because of who they know."

Urlacher won reelection to a third term as Mettawa's mayor this month after running a write-in campaign. He filed as a candidate shortly after his pardon.

Urlacher's campaign committee is relaunching with $100 in the bank, his report indicates. Wife Jeanna Urlacher is serving as the committee's treasurer.

The Citizens for Urlacher committee filed its last financial report on Jan. 11. It reported no cash saved and $71,833 in debts to Urlacher for loans dating to 2016.

The 26th Senate District includes parts of Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

Although not unheard of, primary challenges to sitting state or federal lawmakers by members of their own party are rare.

But there's a schism in the Republican Party between members who support the twice-impeached Trump and those who were critical of the president.

McConchie falls into the latter category. On Jan. 7, the day after the deadly insurgency at the U.S. Capitol, McConchie penned a piece for the Chicago Sun-Times in which he said Trump "has abdicated the principles of freedom, law and order and a democratic process."

"Unlike so many citizens of other countries, I have never before had to question whether my president was inciting violence or sedition," McConchie wrote.

In other Chicago-area races, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Channahon, an outspoken Trump foe who supported impeachment, is preparing to face challenges from several Trump devotees in the Republican primary for the 16th District seat he's held since 2013.

Dan McConchie, state senator Daily Herald File Photo, 2016
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