CHICAGO (CBS) — Ken Dunkin wants his old job back.
He was a state representative until former President Barack Obama called him out in 2016.
“Where I’ve got an opportunity to find some common ground, that doesn’t make me a sellout to my own party,” Obama said during his address to the Illinois Legislature. When Dunkin stood and cheered, Obama responded: “Well, we’ll talk later, Dunkin.”
That comment was triggered by Dunkin’s support of Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Now, Dunkin wants to return to the Capitol, saying he’s seeking a comeback due to demand from 5th District voters who feel let down. According to CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley, however, he’ll face a tough challenge from a newcomer.
“They felt abandoned with the person who decided to go to another office,” Dunkin said, who’s referring to Juliana Stratton. She beat Dunkin 2 to 1 for state representative.
Now, Stratton’s running with J.B. Pritzker for lieutenant governor.
“This campaign’s going to be very clearly focused on the issues that impact people who want to work, who want to see an infrastructure program here in our district,” Dunkin said.
And a prime contestant will be Dilara Sayeed, a Muslim of Indian descent running in an African American district. She has already garnered the support of Ald. Roderick Sawyer and State Rep. Teresa Mah.
“It is about communities crossing boundaries and working together,” Sayeed said.
Like most elections, it will be partly about money. Last time around, the battle for this key seat turned into a proxy war with $6 million spent.
House Speaker Mike Madigan is backing Stratton, while Rauner is backing Dunkin, who’d oppose Madigan on key votes.
Sayeed says she’s seeking Madigan’s blessing. “I will ask for his support as I will ask for every elected official’s support in this district.”
Dunkin says he has not reached out to Rauner for support, nor has Rauner reached out to him.
Lamont Robinson Jr., who runs an insurance business and a college mentorship program, and Felicia Bullock, a manager at the University of Chicago, are the other candidates in the race.