Senator Dick Durbin is going for the history books, ending months of speculation over whether the popular three-term senator from Illinois will run again in 2014.
Durbin, the state's senior U.S. senator (and as Majority Whip, the number two Democrat in the chamber) played coy on reelection talk last September, saying, “Are you ready to engage and commit for eight years of your life? I love these six-year terms, but it also calls for a little more thought, patience, before you make the decision."
As NBC Chicago puts it, Durbin is such a shoo-in for reelection "he’ll win even if he’s caught robbing Lincoln’s Tomb." A victory would make Durbin the first Illinois Democrat to win four terms, and the state’s second-longest serving senator overall.
The numbers certainly favor an easy reelection for Durbin: a November Public Policy Polling survey revealed 52 percent of respondents said they would vote for Durbin in 2014 over a Republican opponent. During his 2008 reelection campaign, Durbin won 68 percent of the vote against a little-known GOP opponent, reports CNN.
The Tribune pointed to speculation that Durbin might seek a cabinet position in Obama's second term, but reports efforts are now rolling toward campaign planning and fundraising; Durbin reportedly started the year with roughly $2.6 million in his campaign coffers.
Top Democrats were quietly sweating Durbin's decision as the party looks to keep control of the Senate in 2014, particularly after the recent news party heavyweights like Michigan Senator Carl Levin would not seek reelection next season.
In addition to Levin, Democrats Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey are also stepping down before the next election cycle, according to CNN.