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Jim Ryan might be back for governor bid
By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff

Jim Ryan

 

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Published: 10/5/2009 10:58 PM

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Former Republican Attorney General Jim Ryan may be ready to take a second run at the state's top post.

"Ryan is seriously considering entering the race for governor," said his longtime spokesman Dan Curry on Monday. "He will make his final decision very soon."

Ryan, who lost a bid for governor to Rod Blagojevich in 2002, formed a committee with the Illinois State Board of Elections Friday "to explore and/or promote the candidacy of Jim Ryan for Governor of Illinois."

The 63-year-old from Elmhurst would enter a crowded field in the GOP primary, but he might carry the most name recognition on the ballot, having served two 4-year terms as attorney general and three 4-year terms before that as DuPage County state's attorney.

Ryan has largely been out of the public spotlight since he lost to Blagojevich with 45 percent of the vote. He had the misfortune of sharing the same last name as the previous Republican governor, George Ryan, who was indicted and eventually convicted on corruption charges. He also, while in the DuPage office, had led the failed prosecutions of three wrongly convicted men in the 1983 Jeanine Nicarico murder.

But given Ryan's showing in the suburbs at the time, supporters are certainly hoping Ryan could bring the party together and win back a collar county electorate that has turned more Democratic in recent years.

In 2002, Ryan beat Blagojevich in the counties of Lake, McHenry, Kane and DuPage with a combined 61 percent of the vote.

At the same time, the current, evolving primary field is packed with suburban politicians. Among them: state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom of Naperville, conservative commentator Dan Proft of Wheaton and businessman Adam Andrzejewski of Hinsdale.

Others who have declared their intention to run include state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna of Chicago.

Ryan has been most recently a fellow at Benedictine University.

Ryan, and other primary candidates, have until Nov. 2 to file nominating petitions to get on the February ballot.

On the Democratic side, Gov. Pat Quinn of Chicago is facing a challenge from Comptroller Dan Hynes of Chicago.