With a crowded race and three well-known front-runners, Dr. Robert Marshall proudly labels himself as the anti-establishment candidate.

“I think I represent more of the middle of the political spectrum, compared to all the other people running,” he said in an interview with the State Journal-Register. “People know the Republican Party has pretty much gone to the right. But people don’t realize, in the past year or less, the Democratic Party, or at least all of my five opponents, have gone far to the left.”

He says all of his opponents are aligned with House speaker Michael Madigan.

“You know how they say there’s Russian collusion — we have Madigan collusion in this race,” he said.

The DuPage County physician has run unsuccessfully several times for the U.S. House and Senate.

Marshall’s platform mostly focuses on Illinois' financial woes. He believes the state has overextended itself on pensions that are guaranteed constitutionally, citizens are overtaxed and geographic differences create instability.

His solution? Divide the state into three new states: the city of Chicago; one made up of its suburbs and northern Illinois; and the rest of the state.

“I’m not a lifelong resident here, I’m from Ohio. So if you come from a smaller state and come here, this place looks awful big to me. It looks almost ungovernable,” he said. “You’d dissolve the current constitution, obviously, including the clause that has to do with the pensions. The pensions would be divided up three ways, but they would be renegotiable. Everything would start from ground zero.”

Most importantly for Marshall, Chicago would cease to have influence for the rest of the state.

“Down here you would not be bossed around by people from Chicago anymore. They would go back to Chicago and live happily ever after,” he said.

When pressed on how this would be possible, Marshall said he’d push for a bill in the Legislature and then lobby for Congress to approve the plan, citing West Virginia as an example. West Virginia was formed in 1861 during the Civil War by Union loyalists who were against secession, unlike the rest of Virginia.

On other financial issues, Marshall is the only Democratic candidate opposed to a progressive income tax.

He argues that the move to a tiered tax system based on income, instead of the 5 percent flat tax, would be disastrous for the state of Illinois.

“It punishes labor; it punishes hard work. I mean, how do people get up into these higher brackets?” he said. “They get there by working hard or working more hours than 40 hours a week — 50, 60 hours a week, that’s the big secret. ... I don’t think that’s fair.”

He argues a tiered tax system would keep people, particularly companies with highly paid employees, from moving in and making new sources of revenue. He also fears it would convince more people to move out of the state.

According to a Southern Illinois University poll from late February, Marshall is polling at 1 percent. But that isn’t stopping him from encouraging Democrats, supporters or not, to get to the polls, not only for local and state races but for federal seats as well.

“Mr. Trump listens to two things, money and power. And while we don’t have the money, but he understands political power. There’s an election coming up in eight months. Kick his butt,” he said at a recent debate. “Kick the Republicans out of Congress.”