CHICAGO (AP) -- Five Republicans are vying for the chance to mount a long-shot challenge to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in the sole statewide race on Tuesday's primary ballot.
Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, was first elected in 1996 and has handily won each election since then. He also has $4.5 million cash on hand. All the other Republican candidates combined make up only a fraction of that.
But former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who has perhaps the most name recognition, contends there's a changed political climate and Durbin is vulnerable.
"He's become a creature of Washington," Curran said during a candidate forum on WTTW-TV. "He works for the Democrats in the Senate. He's in a leadership role and his paramount concern is to please them."
Curran, who leads in endorsements, was previously a Democrat but switched parties in 2008.
Two others have also switched parties.
Perennial candidate Robert Marshall, a Burr Ridge doctor, previously ran as a Democrat, including for governor.
Peggy Hubbard of Belleville, a former police officer, said she became a Republican after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in part because of how former President Barack Obama handled it.
Hubbard sparked a police investigation when she claimed during a candidate forum at a school that she brought a gun and ammunition with her to illustrate safety lapses. Hubbard later said she misspoke.
The other Republicans are Tom Tarter, a retired cancer surgeon from Springfield, and Casey Chlebek, a Glenview man originally from Poland who works in real estate.