Local Election

State Sen. Dan Duffy will not seek re-election

Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy
Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy

Making good on a 2008 promise to limit his terms, Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy announced Thursday he will not seek re-election.

Duffy, who in his two terms in office challenged both the Democratic majority and the Republican establishment, first told constituents via social media that he would not seek a third term in office representing the 26th Illinois Senate District.

“I have always believed that public service should be a duty, not a career. As a consistent term limits advocate, I have repeatedly stated that two terms or eight years in each elected position is enough. If serving eight years in the Illinois General Assembly was good enough for Abraham Lincoln, it is good enough for me,” Duffy, of Lake Barrington, said.

Duffy won the election in 2008 as well as his 2012 re-election campaign. The 26th District covers southeastern McHenry County, southwestern Lake County, far northwestern Kane County and a sliver of Cook County, including all or parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Carpentersville and Barrington.

Voters in 2008 elected Duffy to replace longtime Republican Sen. William Peterson, who retired after 16 years representing the district.

Duffy entered the Senate at a tumultuous time, even by Illinois standards – one of the new Senate’s first tasks upon being seated in January 2009 was removing impeached Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office.

Duffy became known during his two terms as an independent-minded lawmaker who was not afraid to buck his own party. He co-sponsored the Democratic bill that abolished the death penalty in Illinois, calling the state’s system ineffective and expensive, and he was one of the first Republican lawmakers to endorse Bruce Rauner for governor over a slate of insider candidates.

Locally, he gave his endorsement for the 52nd House District seat to Republican candidate David McSweeney over Kent Gaffney, who was chosen by the establishment to replace the late Mark Beaubien. McSweeney won the 2012 election and now represents the district.

With Rauner now in office, albeit at significant loggerheads with the General Assembly, Duffy said he feels more comfortable about leaving the Senate because Rauner has the same pro-business and pro-taxpayer platform.

“Gov. Rauner did not create any of the problems we have in Illinois, but he will surely help us solve them. We are all going to need to make some sacrifices. It is time we take our medicine and do what it takes to get this state back on track,” Duffy said.

McSweeney, who called Duffy’s support to his original campaign crucial, said he will be sad to see Duffy leave. McSweeney said he does not intend to run for Duffy’s seat, and will run again for his House seat.

“I think Dan is a great senator and a good friend, and I hope he stays involved,” McSweeney said.

Duffy is the second McHenry County state legislator to call it quits. State Rep. Mike Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, is not seeking a seventh term representing the 66th House District.

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