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Another term is all Jesse White wants
Secretary of state says he has no interest in running for U.S. Senate
By Nick Shields | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/27/2008 12:22 AM

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SPRINGFIELD -- Secretary of State Jesse White said he plans to seek one more term in office and denied Wednesday that he's interested in a U.S. Senate spot if presidential hopeful Barack Obama wins.

"There has been speculation that I would be considered the heir apparent to Barack Obama if he became successful in becoming our next president," he said in an interview. "When I came on board in 1998, when I was running for this office, I indicated that I was going to run for this office and this office only."

White, 73, acknowledged that while previous secretaries of state, such as former Govs. Jim Edgar and George Ryan and former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon, have used the position to propel their political careers, he himself has no plans to seek a different office.

"I believe when you take on a job, you take on the responsibility that goes on with it," he said. "I'm a former military man ... When I have a duty, or commitment or mission, I'm going to see it from its beginning to its conclusion."

If Obama wins the White House, White predicted plenty of Democrats other than he would be interested in finishing the U.S. Senate term.

"Probably the person who has campaigned the hardest for that position is Comptroller Dan Hynes," White said. Obama beat Hynes in 2004 for the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Senate.

Carol Knowles, a spokeswoman for the comptroller, said Hynes was currently focused on the state's fiscal issues and helping Obama's presidential run.

While White expects to run again for secretary of state in 2010, there's no clear Republican candidate at this early juncture.

State Sen. Dan Rutherford, a downstate Republican who lost to White in 2006, said it's too early to discuss another run.