State Rep. Sullivan won't run; two other Republicans leap in
State Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein announced Monday won't seek re-election in 2016, making him the second suburban Republican to decide to end his Illinois House career this term.
Sullivan has served in the House since 2003 and is part of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin's leadership team.
"Many decisions have not been easy, particularly with mounting fiscal problems and entrenched corruption," Sullivan said in a statement. "I am stepping away with pride, having fought to represent your interests throughout all of it."
Already, at least two other Republicans are eying the seat. Hours before Sullivan's intentions were announced in a statement, Republican Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods sent out notice that he'd be seeking Sullivan's central Lake County seat. Sullivan, however, is backing another potential successor: Lake County Board member Nick Sauer.
Sullivan's time in Springfield included a stint as head of the House Republican Organization, the campaign arm of the GOP caucus.
He grabbed attention in 2013 by being among the first Republicans in Illinois to publicly declare support for same-sex marriage, and he was a top negotiator on the state's relatively new law allowing people to carry concealed firearms in public.
Sullivan said he considered stepping down around then, especially after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, but he decided to run again in 2014.
"Two years ago, I had something to prove," he said.
In retiring, Sullivan said he supports putting "new voices" in Springfield.
"I agree with Governor Rauner that term limits are a necessary reform toward making Illinois great again," he said.
Sullivan also pointed to frustration about a raucous protest by an environmental group in recent weeks where one protester nearly tried to enter his home.
In announcing a bid for Sullivan's seat, McConchie, vice president of government affairs at Americans United for Life, went on the attack against the retiring state rep.
"The incumbent has had both fists in the taxpayer's pocket for too long," McConchie's statement said.
Sullivan said he's backing Sauer to replace him in the House, and he thinks Gov. Bruce Rauner will back Sauer, too.
Sauer agreed that he has spoken to Rauner's staff and is anticipating the governor's support.
That would set up a primary race between Sauer and McConchie, who announced his candidacy by saying he'd be a "strong advocate" for Rauner.
In previous weeks, state Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican and lawmaker since 2005, announced he wouldn't seek re-election in 2016, leaving House Republicans with two veteran incumbents on the sidelines next year.
Sullivan also holds the Fremont Township Assessor post and says he'll remain in that post at least through the end of his term.