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Sen. Matt Murphy second high-ranking GOP legislator to exit

State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, speaks to lawmakers while on the Senate floor during session at the state Capitol on Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Springfield, Ill. (AP File Photo/Seth Perlman)

Once considered a rising star in Republican politics, state Sen. Matt Murphy is poised to step down from his northwest suburban legislative seat to take a job with a public affairs firm.

Senate deputy Republican leader since 2013 and a senator since 2007, the outspoken Palatine legislator will resign shortly.

He will become the second high-ranking legislative ally of Gov. Bruce Rauner to resign in recent weeks.

“Well, I can’t say anything today,” Murphy told Politico Illinois. But the online publication reported that “he indicated a statement may come at a later time.”

The political blog Capitol Fax reported that Murphy will submit his resignation on Friday, so he can become the senior government relations director for Mac Strategies Group, a strategic communications and public affairs firm founded by Ryan McLaughlin.

Murphy, 46, was first elected to the state Senate in 2006. He briefly positioned himself to run for governor in 2010, before throwing his support to rival candidate Andy McKenna and shifting his focus to running for lieutenant governor. Murphy narrowly lost in the GOP primary to Jason Plummer.

A lawyer, he is married and has four children.

Murphy’s exodus will be the second to hit Rauner’s legislative cheering section.

Speaking at the Illinois State Fair on Friday, Rauner said he hadn’t talked to Murphy since his resignation was announced.

“I was surprised by it. Disappointed. I think he’s been a great legislator. He will be missed no question. That said we have a strong advocates in the General Assembly for what we are recommending for reform…We’ve got advocates on both sides of the aisle and I’m optimistic we’ll get some good reforms done for the people of Illinois.”

Just last month, Republican Rep. Ron Sandack abruptly resigned from the state House, issuing a statement to Capitol Fax saying that “cyber security issues” forced him to re-evaluate his “continued public service.”

Sandack, also a vocal supporter of Rauner, later disclosed he reported those cyber issues to Downers Grove investigators. Documents the suburb eventually released under Freedom of Information requests revealed that while Sandack had reported an “internet scam” to police, “the actual criminal activity that took place” was something different. Village officials declined to detail what the investigation entailed, but noted it was not related to Sandack’s former role as a west suburban state representative.

Sandack, 52, told the Chicago Tribune that he resigned after several fake social media accounts were set up in his name. Sandack also cited robocalls to people in his district alleging that he had accosted a Democratic staff lawyer on the House floor — something Sandack had angrily denied.

“Politics has gotten too ugly,” Sandack told the Tribune. “I don’t need it, and my family doesn’t deserve it.”