Doug Truax Senate Bid: Dick Durbin Challenged For First Time In 17 Years

After 17 years of holding his senatorial seat, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), will face a new conservative challenger: Doug Truax.

Truax, a West Point graduate, has never run for office before. He founded Veritas Risk Services, LLC, a strategic risk consulting firm, where he currently serves as co-owner and managing partner.

Truax claims Durbin's policies have led to "economic stagnation" and he vows to change course. "[Durbin] does not represent me, I don't think he represents a majority of Illinois, and as long as they recognize the results that he's gotten for them, there will be a different direction to go in," he said.

He also acknowledged the "blank slate" approach to tax reform — scrapping the current system and creating a new one — and he commends Senator Hatch (R-Utah) and Senator Baucus (D-Minn.) for starting the conversation about it. But Truax also recognizes it would be a difficult process. "It's a tangled web that we have weaved over the years," he said, and added that he wants to ensure that any reform stays revenue-neutral.

"We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem." It's a talking point that rings remarkably true for the state. Illinois' pension debt is growing by $17 million a day, says Scott Reeder of the Illinois Policy Institute.

On Obamacare, Truax said, "What's best for the country is if it would go away." Drawing on his private healthcare experience, Truax instead would embrace market-based policies, health savings accounts, and systems that enable people to pay for insurance premiums before their incomes are taxed.

Truax levels other charges at Durbin, accusing him of "political harassment" by attempting to intimidate donors to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. The Chicago Tribune agreed, writing, "Free speech isn't always free. It gets downright cumbersome when Dick Durbin has you on his enemies list."

Truax is certainly is up against a formidable foe. Durbin holds the second highest Senate Democratic position of Senate Majority Whip and has already raised over $4.4 million, according to OpenSecrets. Truax's website says he is "comfortable in the role of underdog." Still, the last challenger to Durbin — Steve Sauerberg in 2008  only received 28% of the vote. What does Truax think sets himself apart?

There's a different dynamic because it's a midterm, not a presidential election, he argues. "We're going to put together a coalition the likes of which Illinois has never seen." He believes he can unite independents, young people, and "open-minded Democrats."

Undoubtedly, Truax has a seemingly insurmountable battle ahead. But he truly believes he can take Illinois in a different direction. "Senator Durbin has a lot to answer for," he said.

(Note: A similar article was published at Washington Times Communities.)

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Danny Huizinga

Danny Huizinga is a syndicated political columnist for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com, The College Conservative, and the Baylor Lariat. Danny writes a political blog called Consider Again located at consideragain.com. He is currently studying at Baylor University, pursuing three business majors in Economics, Finance, and Business Fellows with minors in mathematics and political science. Although originally from the Chicago area, he is a Texas resident. Follow him on Twitter - @HuizingaDanny or Google+.

MORE FROM

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.