Republican Senate challengers voice concerns about socialism, Islamic jihadists, crime

  • Upper from left, Casey Chlebek, Mark Curran and Peggy Hubbard and, lower from left, Robert Marshall and Tom Tarter are the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in the March primary.

    Upper from left, Casey Chlebek, Mark Curran and Peggy Hubbard and, lower from left, Robert Marshall and Tom Tarter are the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in the March primary.

Posted2/18/2020 5:30 AM

Fears of socialism and Islamic jihadists are among the motivations for the Republicans running to challenge Democrat Dick Durbin for his long-held Senate seat.

They also cited crime, America's involvement in wars around the globe and the future of health care as top concerns.


The GOP candidates in the March 17 primary are Casey Chlebek, Mark Curran, Peggy Hubbard, Robert Marshall and Tom Tarter.

The winner will face Durbin, a four-term incumbent from Springfield, in November.

The Republican candidates talked about why they're running and other issues in a joint interview with the Daily Herald.

Chlebek, a retired information technology professional from Glenview, cited socialism as his top concern. A native of Poland who grew up during communist rule there, Chlebek said he could educate Americans about the possible outcomes of socialist practices and policies if elected senator.

"I offer a very special and unique qualification," he said.

Curran is an attorney from Libertyville who served as Lake County's sheriff from 2006 to 2018. He first was elected sheriff as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party in 2008.

In the joint interview, Curran also expressed fears about socialism. The Democratic Party is moving "further and further" to the left, he said, and liberty is being eroded.

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"The Constitution is becoming increasingly irrelevant," Curran said.

Curran also voiced concern about mass shootings and what he called "an increase in jihadist attacks."

"We see the possibility of those coming to America in greater numbers," Curran said.

Hubbard is a former Democrat, too. She said she's running as a Republican now because the Democratic Party has changed.

"The Democratic Party left me," she said. "They left a lot of Americans behind in their views."

A Belleville resident who has worked as a police officer and an IRS analyst, Hubbard spoke at length about the horrors of violent crime -- particularly in poor, urban areas.

"The violence is rampant," she said. "We are zipping children up in body bags in Chicago."

Hubbard said she wants to be the voice for people who are struggling financially and have been forgotten by other politicians.


Marshall, a radiologist and former Burr Ridge trustee, is a perennial candidate who has bounced back and forth between the two major political parties.

From 1990 to 1998, he ran for governor, state senator, U.S. representative and U.S. senator as a Republican. From 2010 to 2018, he ran for U.S. senator, U.S. representative and governor as a Democrat.

Marshall said he's a Vietnam War veteran whose "main passion" is opposing America's involvement in foreign wars.

"It's time for us to get out," Marshall said. "These wars are unending wars. These are wars that you cannot win."

Wars create "millions of refugees" who want to relocate here, Marshall said.

"We've created our own immigration problem from all these wars," he said.

Tarter, a urological oncologist from Springfield, said he decided to run for the Senate because he and his wife didn't see candidates with name recognition or enough funding seeking the post. "I wasn't going to sit by and watch a Durbin coronation," Tarter said.

Tarter said he's particularly alarmed by Democrat-led plans for a national, government-run health care system.

"The number one issue in the general election (is) going to be health care," he said.

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