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Sen. Dick Durbin declares victory on most ‘unusual’ election night in four-decade career

Durbin said on a video call Tuesday evening that “this is the most unusual victory speech I’ve ever given, sitting in my home in Springfield, staring into an iPad.”

Sen. Dick Durbin addresses reporters on a video call on Election Night as he heads toward a fifth term in the Senate.
Sen. Dick Durbin addresses reporters on a video call on Election Night as he heads toward a fifth term in the Senate.
Screenshot/Durbin campaign

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the state’s most recognizable politician and the Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat, has fended off four long-shot candidates in a race that was never considered competitive to win his fifth consecutive term in the seat.

On what he said was his most “unusual” election night in four decades in Washington, Durbin held 52% of the vote as of 11 p.m. Tuesday with incomplete returns reporting. The senator’s GOP opponent, former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, sat at 41% and Chicago businessman Willie Wilson drew 4.1%. Two other candidates were below 2% each.

Durbin declared his win early Tuesday evening, telling reporters on a video call that “this is the most unusual victory speech I’ve ever given, sitting in my home in Springfield, staring into an iPad.” He called the scene “sedate” as he sat alone in his living room instead of a packed election night party.

Illinois’ senior senator said his post-election priority is to hammer out a long-awaited second coronavirus relief package next week that has stalled in Congress in recent weeks.

Durbin has served as a prominent national voice against President Donald Trump, supporting the president’s impeachment last winter and airing campaign ads this fall that featured his opposition to Trump, largely ignoring his opponents in the race.

Curran, a former Democrat turned Republican, pegged himself as “truly an independent” in his campaign to remove the longtime senator from Washington. The former sheriff has supported Trump but has also disagreed with the president on immigration issues.

Curran refused to concede late Tuesday on a video call with reporters but acknowledged “it doesn’t look good right now.” He went on to attack Durbin’s record in Washington.

“Dick Durbin’s going to meet his maker soon enough,” Curran said. “If I was Dick Durbin I wouldn’t dance too much with this victory because he’s not done right by the people of Illinois, and he’s going to be judged on that by the ultimate judge.”

Wilson, meanwhile, is less than two years removed from a Chicago mayoral campaign that grew his notoriety and was backed in his Senate campaign by the city’s largest police union and has also supported Trump.

Wilson, who tested positive for COVID-19 in the final stretch of the campaign, told the Sun-Times on a call Tuesday night that he was “not at all” conceding, holding out hope for a comeback victory.

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