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Illinois Governor Won`t Run Again (Associated Press) ...The attorney general has battled cancer and he lost a 12-year-old daughter to a brain tumor.... - Aug 09 8:41 PM ET

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Posted on: 08/09/2001

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Thursday August 9 8:40 PM ET "Illinois Governor Won't Run Again"

Illinois Governor Won't Run Again

By NICOLE ZIEGLER DIZON, Associated Press Writer

VILLA PARK, Ill. (AP) - Attorney General Jim Ryan announced Thursday he is running for the Republican nomination for governor, jumping into the void left by Gov. George Ryan's decision not to seek re-election.

Standing outside the modest brick house where he grew up, Jim Ryan spoke of the values he had learned inside - "faith, family, hard work, honesty and personal responsibility."

Ryan, 55, said the adversity in his life over the past few years had made his stronger. The attorney general has battled cancer and he lost a 12-year-old daughter to a brain tumor.

At a bill-signing ceremony in Springfield Thursday, George Ryan said he did not know whether he would endorse anyone in the GOP primary. He said the attorney general "would probably make a good governor," and that he believed Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood "would be an excellent governor."

Wood, who is considered more moderate than the attorney general, said she is considering running for governor or another statewide office.

Ryan said he did not make his decision to stay out of the 2002 race until 2 p.m. Wednesday, a few hours before he told a hometown crowd in Kankakee that he wanted to govern free of the stress of a campaign.

"The work ahead is important. These challenges require serious debate, a dialogue free from rancor or personal attacks about motives or character," said the 67-year-old governor, who has held statewide office since becoming lieutenant governor in 1983.

Ryan spent a half-hour ticking off his accomplishments as governor - from suspending executions to devoting more money to education - before finally revealing his decision.

He also had harsh words for conservative Republicans who criticized him for raising taxes to build roads, vetoing abortion restrictions for women on Medicaid and supporting anti-discrimination protection for gays.

He did not mention the driver's license scandal that caused his voter approval ratings to plummet.

"I can take the heat, but I worry for the Republican Party," Ryan said. "If we're to be successful we need to listen more and shout less. We need to moderate our positions."

Both Jim Ryan and the other declared GOP candidate for governor, state Sen. Patrick O'Malley of Palos Park, are more conservative than George Ryan.

Some Republicans questioned whether Ryan could be re-elected, despite accomplishments that include leadership on a $12 billion construction project and efforts to bring Boeing Co. to the state.

The governor has been dogged by a federal investigation of widespread trading of driver's licenses for bribes, mostly while he was secretary of state. Prosecutors say at least $170,000 of the bribe money ended up in Ryan's campaign fund, although the governor has not been charged with wrongdoing and has repeatedly denied knowledge of the bribes.

Some GOP colleagues said the scandal was a major stumbling block in running again.

"But for the secretary of state driver's license business I think George Ryan would have been a candidate for re-election," former Gov. Jim Thompson said.

A half-dozen or so Democrats have been laying the groundwork for the governor's race, sensing a real shot at ending Republicans' 24-year control of the executive mansion.

Ryan would have faced a bruising primary and, if he survived, a long campaign of attacks on his honesty.

Forty-one people have been charged for accepting or paying bribes in exchange for driver's licenses. Thirty-six people have been convicted, including Ryan's longtime friend Dean Bauer, the former chief investigator in his secretary of state office.

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Earlier Stories
No 2nd Term for Illinois Governor (August 9)
Ill. Governor Won't Seek Re-election (August 8)
Ill. Gov. Ryan Won't Seek 2nd Term (August 8)
Ill. Gov. Ryan Wont Seek Second Term (August 8)

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