Richard Joseph Durbin (born November 21, 1944) is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Illinois, a seat he was first elected to in 1996. He has been the Senate Democratic Whip since 2005, the second-highest position in the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate.
Durbin was born in East St. Louis, Illinois. He graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Georgetown University Law Center. Working in state legal counsel throughout the 1970s, he made an unsuccessful run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 1978. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982, representing the Springfield-based 20th congressional district. In 1996, he won election to the U.S. Senate by an unexpected 15-point margin. He has served as Senate Democratic Whip since 2005, and for a period of eight years (2007–2015) served as the Senate Majority Whip. He is currently dean of the Illinois congressional delegation, as he has served in Congress since 1983 as a U.S. Representative from Illinois 20th Congressional District, and from 1997 as a U.S. Senator from Illinois.
Durbin now serves as the Senate Minority Whip following the 2014 midterm elections, where the Republicans gained a majority in the U.S. Senate and Durbin won reelection, defeating Republican Jim Oberweis, by a margin of 53.55% to 42.69%.