Hinsdale real estate developer Patrick Hughes announced Wednesday that he is entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, challenging U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk for the party's banner.
Hughes, 40, says he was part of a grass-roots push to lobby against Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed income tax hike. The attorney has never run for public office before.
Kirk of Highland Park announced his bid for Senate last month and has early support from several key party leaders both in the state and nationally, but he has taken criticism for some House votes that where not along party lines.
Petitions to get on the February primary ballot are now being circulated. Other GOP candidates include former Harvey alderman John Arrington and retired downstate judge John Lowery.
On the Democratic side, Rod Blagojevich appointee Roland Burris is not running for election. Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago Urban League CEO Cheryle Jackson are among those vying to lead the Democratic ticket for the seat formally held by President Barack Obama.