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Rockford man may fly into Senate race

July 29, 2003

BY SCOTT FORNEK Political Reporter

It's nothing new for political candidates to launch their campaigns by flying around the state, but retired Air Force Major Gen. John Borling hopes to give it a new twist.

The decorated fighter pilot and potential U.S. Senate candidate wants to be the one at the controls, criss-crossing the state in a variety of airplanes old and new--including some vintage open-cockpit "old warbirds."

"I'm not much on having guys shove me in the back as a paying customer," Borling, a Rockford Republican, said Monday. "We want to have some fun with this."

Former state Rep. Jim Durkin, 42, who won the GOP Senate primary last year but lost to Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, said he will sit out this race to spend time with his family, concentrate on the law firm he joined and mull over a run for statewide office in 2006.

As for Borling, 63, he has not officially declared himself a candidate to replace Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, but has formed an exploratory committee and is considering a September announcement.

Borling spent 37 years in the Air Force, including 61/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He is hoping to kick off his campaign in Rockford, where he is head of an energy services company. But he plans to fly to all 102 Illinois counties--an air campaign he calls Wing 102.

Borling, who is looking to run as a Republican, said he considers himself more of an independent and often sounds like a Libertarian. He supports abortion rights, favors school vouchers, backs President Bush's tax cuts and believes people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons.


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