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Cross Not Running for AG, Wants to Retain Leadership Post

The decision by the Democratic attorney general to seek re-election is having a ripple effect in the Republican Party.

Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) considered running for attorney general if Lisa Madigan didn’t. But she is, so now he isn’t. But while he was considering it, others began angling for the job of minority leader, which Cross now wants to maintain.

“The caucus needs to decide what they want. We’ve been doing it for a while, it’s all I do, I don’t do a whole lot else, and I think the people in the caucus appreciate our commitment to it,” he said, referring to himself.

One of those seeking the job is State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). “For the past month and a half I’ve been traveling the state. I’ve been raising money, talking to my colleagues about what I can offer to the House Republican leadership, and I will continue on with that,” he said.

Also eyeing the post are State Reps. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) and Raymond Poe (R-Springfield).

The job of minority leader involves being the main spokesman for the caucus on the issues of the day. Behind the scenes, it involves candidate recruitment, fundraising, distribution of funds to candidates and campaign strategy in an effort to win as many seats as possible, and perhaps one day not be in the minority. Republicans last held a majority in the House in the 1995-96 term.

Cross is safe in the job until the end of next year, but caucuses will elect new leaders – or re-elect old ones – going into the 2015-16 term.