Dick Durbin: I'm running for reelection in 2020

Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown brawl Overnight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run MORE (D-Ill.) on Thursday confirmed that he will seek a fifth term in the Senate.

Asked on CNN’s “New Day” whether he would run for reelection in 2020, Durbin replied that he would, adding that his response shouldn’t be taken “as a formal announcement.”

“What I’ve said is, I’m raising money and I’m trying to lose a few pounds, and that’s a good indicator that I’m looking forward to 2020,” Durbin told CNN’s John Berman.

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Durbin, 74, would almost certainly coast to an easy reelection in Democratic-leaning Illinois. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently puts Durbin’s reelection prospects in the “Solid Democrat” column.

He has won reelection by double digits since entering the Senate in 1997, and his post as the second highest-ranking Democrat in the chamber gives him a difficult-to-match political and fundraising platform.

His most recent federal filing from October showed his campaign committee with nearly $1.7 million in cash on hand.

Still, speculation of a possible retirement for Durbin has swirled since 2016, when Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDon’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win MORE (D-N.Y.) was tapped to replace former Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid says he won’t make 2020 endorsement until after Nevada caucus Sanders hires veteran progressive operative to manage 2020 bid Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency MORE (D-Nev.) as the chamber’s Democratic leader.

But Durbin has signaled for months that he is likely to seek another term. During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last month, the No. 2 Senate Democrat said that signs pointed to another reelection bid.

“I can tell people that I’m raising money and trying to lose some weight, that’s usually the first indication that you’re up for reelection,” Durbin said.

Durbin also ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE over the ongoing partial government shutdown on Thursday, accusing the president of choosing funding for his long-promised border wall over responsible stewardship of the federal government.

“The president has made the decision that despite his responsibility to manage and lead this government, he would rather shut it down and hold it hostage for his beloved wall — that wall the Mexicans were supposed to pay for,” he said on CNN.

Durbin insisted that Democrats would not capitulate to the president’s demand for more than $5 billion in funding for border wall construction, arguing that lawmakers had already agreed on a package that would provide $1.3 billion for border security.

“We are not going to compromise on the basics. And the basics are we are offering $1.3 billion for border security – an amount which was debated back and forth among Democrats and Republicans in a Republican Congress and came forward,” he said.