(CBS) – How long in public office is too long?

That’s a key question being asked by Republican Jim Oberweis, who’s facing off against long-serving U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in the Nov. 4 election.

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CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

It’s Oberweis’ fourth bid for statewide office in the last dozen years.

But wealthy businessman Oberweis may still be better known for his iconic ice cream stores than his politics. His theme this time: “career politician” Dick Durbin has been around far too long.

“The average Illinois family today is earning $5,053 less than they were the last time Dick Durbin ran for this U.S. Senate seat,” Oberweis said Tuesday.

First a downstate congressman, then a U.S. senator since 1996, Durbin replies experience means clout for Illinois, like transportation funding.

“We’re receiving more federal dollars now than we have in the last 15 years,” Durbin says.

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That kind federal dough for transport infrastructure, Durbin says, helped lure an Amazon “fulfillment center” that will produce 1,000 jobs.

Meantime, conservative Oberweis has softened his tone, seeking African-American votes on the South and West sides and steering clear of divisive social issues.

“I believe I’ve learned from some of the mistakes that I’ve made,” he said.

Durbin has collected more than $9 million; Oberweis, less than $1 million.

The national GOP Sentate fund hasn’t come to his rescue.

He’s managed to steer clear of past campaign blunders over immigration and abortion. Still, polls show Durbin with a comfortable lead over Oberweis.


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