The Republican physician who hopes to run against and defeat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in 2008 formally announced his candidacy Wednesday.

 The Republican physician who hopes to run against and defeat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in 2008 formally announced his candidacy Wednesday.


 


Fifty-four-year-old Steve Sauerberg of Willowbrook, who has a family practice in LaGrange, criticized Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, as a “career politician” who does not reflect the values of many Illinoisans.


 


“I can no longer sit by and watch out-of-touch, ultra-liberal Sen. Dick Durbin do to America what his friend Gov. (Rod) Blagojevich is doing to Illinois,” Sauerberg said at a news conference outside the federal building in the Loop where Durbin has offices.


 


Sauerberg’s prepared remarks touched on the issues of immigration and health care. He said he favors fortifying America’s borders, rather than offering a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Noting that millions of Americans are uninsured, Sauerberg said he does not support socialized medicine; he declined to offer details of his own plan beyond calling for reforms in medical malpractice laws.


 


Asked about his views on abortion, Sauerberg said a woman should have access to the procedure in “certain circumstances” He said the circumstances may include the health of the mother and pregnancy through rape or incest.


 


Durbin, who is expected to seek a third six-year Senate term, supports abortion rights.


 


On Iraq, Sauerberg said he would not advocate the kind of proposed U.S. troop pullout that Durbin supports.


 


“Getting out of Iraq would simply leave chaos, genocide and be a disaster,” the candidate said.



Sauerberg said he has kick-started his campaign with $250,000 of his own money. He conceded that he faces an uphill fundraising contest with Durbin, the no. 2 Democrat in the Senate; the incumbent has $6 million in his war chest, it was recently reported. Sauerberg said it would take $10 million to be competitive in a GOP primary and general election against Durbin.



“Mr. Sauerberg joined a long list of candidates competing in the Republican primary — a group that will likely continue to grow,” Durbin campaign manager Michael Daly said in a written statement. “We look forward to seeing who will be left standing next year.”



Another little-known Republican, businessman Jim Nalepa of Hinsdale, is considering a run for U.S. Senate, media reports have said.


 


Sauerberg, a Berwyn native, is an alumnus of MacMurray College in Jacksonville and Rush Medical College. He and his wife, Nancy, have two adult children.


 


Mike Ramsey can be reached at (312) 857-2323 or ghns-ramsey@sbcglobal.net.