State Rep. Jack Franks will run either for re-election to the 63rd District in 2010 or for governor.
And the Democratic incumbent from Marengo said he was not going to rush his decision.
Franks said Monday that he planned to consult with constituents, state leaders, and most importantly, his wife and two teenage sons, before he made his choice.
“I’m very proud and very honored to be the state representative for the 63rd District. It’s a job I’ve worked very hard at, one I think I’m good at, and one that I love. I never thought I could be in a position to help so many people,” Franks said. “I need to see whether a statewide run is something in the best interests of the people of McHenry County, as well, but I’ll take some time to make that decision.”
His comments on his future plans were his first in public since Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s surprise announcement last week that she would run for a third term rather than run for governor or the U.S. Senate seat held by Roland Burris, a Democrat.
Franks said he had been approached about running for attorney general, but governor was always top on his list.
“I, like many others, thought [Madigan] was going to look at a couple of other options, but I’m real happy she is where she’s at,” Franks said.
The fiscally conservative Democrat has survived and thrived in Republican-leaning McHenry County since his 1998 election, and he often stands united with McHenry County’s two other GOP state representatives and both its Republican state senators. But it was the decline and fall of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that boosted Franks’ political fortunes.
Franks was among Blagojevich’s earliest critics. He was among the loudest and among the first to begin calling for Blagojevich’s impeachment, long before his Dec. 9 arrest on federal corruption charges. Franks chairs the State Government Administration Committee, which allowed him to conduct hearings on Blagojevich’s questionable decisions regarding state contracts and operations.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, Lisa Madigan’s father, appointed Franks to the 21-member special House investigative committee that unanimously voted Jan. 8 to recommend impeaching Blagojevich. The House did so the next day, and the Senate removed Blagojevich from office Jan. 29.
The Feb. 2, 2010, Democratic primary could be a crowded one, regardless of whether the field includes Franks. Besides Gov. Pat Quinn, candidates reportedly eyeing the governor’s mansion include fellow state Rep. Julie Hamos, D-Evanston, and Comptroller Daniel Hynes.
Franks said that although some had counseled him to run for statewide office, others had counseled him to stay put. If he did run for governor, the 63rd District could revert back to Republican control at a time when House Democrats are one seat shy of a 71-seat supermajority.
But Franks said that concern would not factor into his decision.
“I’ve never been one who’s worried about party politics,” Franks said. “We have to move past that.”
A gubernatorial run also would require a large campaign war chest, and his election committee, Supporters of Jack Franks, reported $61,669 for the period ending in March, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. But Franks said he “had a good six months” in fundraising, which will be revealed in the committee’s next report.