Dick Durbin

AGE: 67
OCCUPATION: United States senator

This amiable successor to Paul Simon is using his clout as majority whip (the Senate’s number two job) to become Illinois’s sugar daddy, securing billions for projects, pork or otherwise. Recently, he helped bring in $1.5 billion for a high-speed rail line that will shorten the trip between Chicago and St. Louis. Is this the year his influence finally helps get Tammy Duckworth elected to Congress?

MORE ON DURBIN: Dick vs. Chuck: Battle for the Senate Majority Leader Spot

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Photograph: Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune