Richard Boykin. File.

After flirting with the idea of running for the U.S. Senate, newly elected Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (D-1st) has announced he will not be pursuing the office in next year’s election.

Last month, Boykin launched a 30-person senate exploratory committee to consider the idea of a run for the seat currently held by Mark Kirk (R).

With Boykin out, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (8th), and former Chicago school board member and past Chicago Urban League president Andrea Zopp are the two major players who have formally announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination.

In a statement released Wednesday, Boykin noted that, after visiting places like East St. Louis, Peoria and Springfield, “It’s abundantly clear that our state is crying out for a strong and principled leader to represent our interests in the United States Senate.”

But Boykin said his commitments as a Cook County commissioner require his full attention. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune during a break in a county board meeting on Wednesday, Boykin said, “People were saying I hadn’t spent enough time with Cook County.”

Boykin noted in his statement that in the coming months, he plans to work on his proposal to establish a Cook County Gun Violence Czar to combat the city’s gun violence “in a holistic and coordinated manner” and to focus on reforming the process by which the county awards violence prevention grants.

“The fact that I will not personally run for Senate does nothing to diminish my conviction that the issues I have prioritized must take center stage in the upcoming election,” Boykin stated.

The commissioner said during next year’s election cycle, he plans on putting in “maximum effort” to organize and advocate for various issues he’s championed at the county level. 

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