House Republicans elected Durkin in August as their new leader after former leader Tom Cross announced he would be stepping down. Cross kicked off his campaign for state treasurer last week. He will continue to serve out his term in the House. “Tom Cross was a good leader. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and thank him for service to our caucus,” Durkin said in a written statement. “It is a privilege to have been selected the new House Republican leader by my peers, and I’m anxious to get to work. Illinois is a great state facing serious challenges. House Republicans have solid ideas on how to solve our fiscal crisis and get residents back to work. Like our neighbors, we want safe schools and neighborhoods, and an end to government corruption. We want to restore pride in Illinois — working together we can get the job done.”
Durkin served in the House from 1995 to 2002. He made a failed bid for U.S. Senate against Sen. Dick Durbin and then returned to the House in 2006. He has also worked as a Cook County state’s attorney and an assistant Illinois attorney general.
Durkin is taking over during a challenging time for the caucus. Republicans in both chambers suffered losses in the 2012 election that gave Democrats veto-proof majorities. Both caucuses have struggled with election fundraising, something Durkin says he plans to address.