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.)