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Cullerton, Krishnamoorthi Face Off over Duckworth House Seat

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)

(Chicago) – State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) announced yesterday that he is running for the 8th Congressional seat being vacated by U.S Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Cullerton, a first-term lawmaker from DuPage County and a former Villa Park mayor, will first need to fight businessman and former Illinois deputy treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi for the Democratic nomination. Duckworth soundly defeated Krishnamoorthi in the 2012 Democratic primary.

Both men are highlighting the economy and jobs as top priorities and both hinted in their announcement statements at the underlying anxiety felt by American workers.

“Congress is a millionaires club,” Cullerton said yesterday in his announcement statement. “I want to change that by bringing my blue-collar work ethic and common sense solutions to Congress. I believe that if you work hard every day, you deserve a good wage that provides for your family and the ability to retire with dignity.”

Krishnamoorthi cited “economic security” in his April 1 announcement.

“In our rapidly changing global economy, the ability of working families to reach and hold onto economic security is under threat,” said Krishnamoorthi. “But if you look to Washington for answers, you’ll just find politicians who don’t care, don’t understand, or don’t want to stick their necks out to fight for the middle class.”

Cullerton, who in 2012 narrowly and unexpectedly defeated long-time GOP State Senator Carole Pankau, 51-48, in the Republican district, served as Villa Park’s mayor from 2009 to 2013 and as a village trustee from 2005 to 2009.

Both Cullerton, 45, and Krishnamoorthi, 41, are also seeking to embrace Duckworth and position themselves as her heir.

“The Republicans in Congress have failed our veterans and our working families,” said Cullerton. “I will be a representative … who will fight for them just as Congresswoman Duckworth has.”

“Since 2013, Tammy Duckworth has been an excellent representative for the 8th district,” said Krishnamoorthi. “I want to continue her advocacy for working families.”

Duckworth, who is seeking to challenge U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) for reelection in 2016, has offered no endorsement to either candidate.

But Krishnamoorthi, who lost a 2010 Democratic primary race for Illinois Comptroller, has grabbed two endorsements from among Cullerton’s Democratic senate colleagues.

State Senators Dave Koehler of Peoria and Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge are backing Krishnamoorthi’s bid.

Krishnamoorthi, who has already raised $250,000, has also won the backing of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Chicago).

Still, at the moment, Democratic insiders are giving the edge to Cullerton in the race against Krishnamoorthi whose previously failed campaigns raise serious doubts about his vote-getting ability, especially in a general election.

Cullerton officially launches his campaign at a fundraiser at Dick’s Last Resort in Chicago on June 2.

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