Durbin Faces 2014 Senate Challenge

After 17 years of Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Illinois will see a new conservative challenger – Doug Truax.

Truax, a West point grad, has never run for office before. He founded Veritas Risk Services, LLC, a strategic risk consulting firm and 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,” says Truax.

He also acknowledges the “blank slate” approach to tax reform currently pursued by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) He commends them for starting the conversation, but recognizes it’s a rough process. “It’s a tangled web that we have weaved over the years,” and he wants to make sure 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, he says, “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 allowing 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 agrees, saying, “Free speech isn’t always free. It gets downright cumbersome when Dick Durbin has you on his enemies list.”

Truax is certainly 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 dollars, 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 percent of the vote to Durbin’s 68 percent. What does Truax think sets him 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 says.

Originally published at Washington Times Communities.