Tammy Duckworth, Sen. Dick Durbin at Bley LLC in Elk Grove Village. (photo by Lynn Sweet)
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, ILL.--At an event designed to emphasize job creation, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Monday endorsed the Democratic primary House bid of Tammy Duckworth over rival Raja Krishnamoorthi in the newly remapped eighth congressional district.
Durbin rarely takes sides in Illinois primaries--he's made two exceptions in the past years: for Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential run and in 2006, when Duckworth, a wounded Iraq war vet, made her first bid for a House seat, which she lost. She went on to become the Illinois veterans agency chief and the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"I don't usually get involved in primaries," Durbin said after he and Duckworth toured the manufacturing floor of Bley LLC in this northwest Chicago suburb. It's not the smartest thing for someone to do, because, you know, friends will be on the other side."
Bley was picked as the backdrop for the endorsement because the precision machinery, fabrication, manufacturing and machine building company was able to expand and hire more workers with the help of a federal $5 million grant, generated as part of Obama's stimulus package. The machine Bley purchased with $1.7 million of the grant --a giant computerized precision tooling device, the MAG VTC 2500--is used to make parts for, among other things, wind turbines. (Bley had to put up $5 million of its own money in the matching program.)
Durbin, who met Duckworth when she was recovering from her wounds at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, launched her on her political career. On Monday, he said she was like a daughter to him.
"Tammy is a candidate for Congress and I am proud to endorse her."
Dubin said he will campaign and fund-raise for Duckworth, who started the contest months behind Krishnamoorthi.
Krishnamoorthi downplayed the Durbin endorsement. "I respect Senator Durbin, but the economic suffering millions of Americans face today means this election will be decided by the candidate who best demonstrates a depth of experience, passion, and ideas for creating jobs and helping the middle class. I respectfully submit that candidate will be me," he said in a statement.