The two major-party candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senate give Illinois voters an illuminating contrast. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin rose through the seniority ranks to become one of the Senate’s most powerful Democrats, while Republican Mark Curran Jr. is well-known in suburban circles as the former Lake County sheriff, but requires an introduction outside the Chicago area.

Durbin, a capable and approachable member of the U.S. Senate for 24 years, says his status, on the eve of a possible Democratic Senate takeover, is similar to that of former Bears kicker Robbie Gould. In other words, he is someone Illinois would really miss if sent packing.

Read the Tribune’s full endorsement here.