It's a big leap from the vice presidency of the McHenry County Board of Health to the U.S. Senate.
But Ed Varga, of Richmond, wants to give it a try.
Varga, 42, intends to run as a Republican for the party's nomination in the February 2010 primary. He plans to announce his candidacy at 9 a.m. Monday from the Stevens Park gazebo in Richmond at Broadway and Main Street.
He considers his lack of political experience an asset, and hopes to "restore Midwestern common sense to Capitol Hill." Varga said the average member of Congress had lost touch with the realities of their constituents. As a single father struggling with pay and insurance cuts in a recession, Varga said he would represent everyday people.
"I am tired of being one of those guys on the sidelines so cynical about politics today," Varga said. "I think that it's more important to try than to sit back and complain."
Suburban U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk announced his candidacy July 20 to seek the GOP's nomination for the seat held by Democratic U.S. Sen. Roland Burris. Burris, who's been battered in Washington over his appointment to President Obama's vacant seat by scandal-tainted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is not seeking election.
Varga is an engineer with Varga and Associates, an engineering consulting firm founded by his father. He said engineers tended to see problems as "situations that can be overcome," which he said would be an asset in Washington that lawmakers lack.
McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Mike Tryon said he had not yet talked to Varga about his candidacy and did not know what funding Varga had generated.
"We historically haven't endorsed candidates in primaries. That's nothing I see changing," Tryon said. "But seeing as he comes from McHenry County, I think some precinct committeemen would likely want to support him."
Varga said he had yet to start raising funds – a greater priority is getting the needed signatures. He said he hoped that a grass-roots, Internet campaign would raise enough funds "not to inundate, but to get the message out."
Varga is past president of the health board and is chairman of its Animal Control Advisory Committee. He is active in scouting on account of his 11-year-old son, Jim. He volunteers as a religious education teacher at St. Joseph's Church, as well as Junior Achievement.