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Cullerton Withdraws from Race to Succeed Duckworth

(Chicago) - State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has decided not to seek the 2016 Democratic nomination for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

Duckworth is running for the U.S. Senate.

“With every elected office that I have sought, my guiding compass has been to ask myself a single question: What is the best way for me to serve the hard working men and women in my community?” Cullerton said in a press statement issued early this morning. “So after careful consideration, I have determined that the best way to serve is to continue to represent the 23rd district as a state Senator.”

Cullerton, a former Villa Park mayor, had raised $135,000 for the congressional campaign.

Cullerton, who is serving his first term in the Illinois Senate, is expected to be a top target of the Illinois GOP in 2016.

The district, which leans Republican, is much more likely to remain in Democratic hands with Cullerton’s decision to run for reelection.

A source says Senate President John Cullerton applied “no pressure” on Tom Cullerton, who is related to the Illinois Senate’s top Democrat, to withdraw from the congressional contest.

Reaction from one of Cullerton’s congressional Democratic primary proponents, Raja Krishnamoorthi, who has raised more than $600,000 for the race, was swift.

“I thank Senator Tom Cullerton for his continued service to the community and wish him and his family only the best,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. I look forward to working with him to address the challenges facing constituents of the 8th District of Illinois. Together, we can strengthen our community by helping working families reach and hold on to economic security, and this is a task that I hope to address in partnership with Senator Cullerton.”

State Senator Mike Noland (D-Elgin) is also running for the Duckworth seat.

Cullerton, who was leading in the three-way congressional race according to private polling, is not expected to make an endorsement.

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