ENDORSEMENT: Mark Curran for U.S. Senate in Republican primary

Curran, the sheriff of Lake County from 2006 to 2018, is a principled conservative. But he’s not afraid to call out the worst policies of his own Republican Party.

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endorsement, Republican Mark Curran, former Lake county Sheriff, U.S Senate, Illinois. 2020 primary election

Mark C. Curran Jr. is endorsed by the Sun-Times for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

It had been a long time since we heard anybody talk about the Gang of Eight.

But Mark C. Curran Jr. recently did, in an interview with the Sun-Times Editorial Board, and in a way that reflected why we think he’s the best choice — an excellent choice — in the March 17 Republican primary for the United States Senate.

The Gang of Eight, as you recall, was a bipartisan group of eight senators who in 2013 created a thoughtful plan for immigration reform — strong on border security and strong on common decency — that passed in the Senate before it was buried in the House. The eight senators were motivated by a positive, bipartisan spirit that has all but died in Washington, but which Curran would like to revive.

“We need to go back to that,” he told us.

Curran was the sheriff of Lake County from 2006 to 2018. He is a lawyer, a law professor and a principled conservative. He favors “entrepreneurship, not socialism,” believes a single-payer form of national health care would be “horrible” and is anti-abortion.

But Curran is not shy about calling out the worst policies, as he sees them, of his own Republican Party. He questions, for example, why President Trump has increased military spending by “approximately $100 million” while allowing the national debt to explode. “The question,” he said, “must always be where is that money going to come from?”

Curran says he favors a balanced budget amendment and changes in the tax code that favor entrepreneurs and small businesses. But he is opposed, he said, to “tax breaks for big banks, internet, oil, gas and other large corporations, giving them an unfair advantage.”

Also running in this primary are Casey Chlebek, a Glenview tech engineer; Peggy Hubbard, a retired IRS analyst; Robert Marshall, a doctor, and Tom Tarter, a Springfield urologist.

The victor in this race will face a steep climb in November in trying to unseat Sen. Dick Durbin, the popular Democratic incumbent.

We miss the Gang of Eight, too. In this Republican primary, we endorse Mark Curran.

For more information about this race and others, including candidate questionnaires, go to our Illinois primary voting guide. Our newspaper is owned by a group of civic-minded and, in some cases, politically active investors; for details, see our owner information page.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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