WASHINGTON — On Christmas Eve 2009, right around midnight, Doug Truax decided to run for public office.
That was when the Senate passed the Affordable Care Act, the much-derided healthcare law also known as Obamacare.
“I’m just thinking, I can’t watch this anymore, I’ve got to do something,” Truax, a West Point graduate and businessman told The Daily Caller during a recent trip here. Three and a half years later, that decision has come to pass: Truax has entered the ring against Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.
Durbin is the Democratic Whip and second highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate. He has been in office for 16 years, and he boasts brimming campaign coffers: over $4.2 million cash on hand as of the end of June. Political analysts like the Rothenberg Political Report do not even consider his seat to be in play next year.
“It’s a daunting task,” Truax said. “It’s not impossible: it’s difficult.”
But, he said, “I don’t take these things lightly, and I’m not doing this to lose.”
Truax would not be the first candidate to announce he was taking on a formidable incumbent, only to fade into the woodwork when it came time to show his cards – or in this case, his funds. But he said he was realistic about what it would take to put this race on the map.
“My opinion on that is if you can’t raise enough money to make it a credible race, you’re not going be able to get enough votes to make it a credible race too,” he said.
He said he would take a “grassroots approach” to raising money, noting that he himself donated the maximum allowed amount of money to his campaign. Since he filed after the FEC deadline, he is not required to report his campaign funds until October.
“It’s a lot of money to be raised, but it’s a lot of people out there that would like to see somebody making a real run at Durbin,” he said.
Truax might not be the only person who thinks he can pull this off. He was in town last week at the invitation of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and later that day, he was set to meet with Sen. Jerry Moran, the Chairman of the NRSC and Sen. Rob Portman, the Vice Chairman of the NRSC, as well as Sen. Bob Corker.
An NRSC official described Truax as “passionate, a fresh face for Illinois” and “A strong contrast to Durbin’s tax and debt policy.”