Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Jesse White to Seek 5th Term as Secretary of State

79-year-old says he isn't interested in running for governor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Illinois Secretary of State first elected in 1998 says 2014 race may be his last.

    Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Thursday announced he'll seek a fifth term in office.

    In doing so, the 79-year-old Chicago Democrat confirmed plans he first floated more than two years ago, though he indicated it may be his last race. He also put to any rest any questions that he's thinking of running for governor.

    The 79-year-old has easily won his previous elections, meaning any Republican challenger would have a difficult time beating White.

    "Life is good," he responded when asked what it's like to run without opponents.

    White served as a state representative for 16 years and as Cook County recorder of deeds. He was first elected Illinois Secretary of State in 1998 and has trounced his opponents ever since. He heads into the lastest campaign with more than $470,000 in his coffers.

    White is also known for the tumbling troupe that carries his name. The gymnastic group, with which he still performs, assists children living in public housing.

    White has run a scandal-free office after replacing Republican George Ryan, who wound up in prison for corruption during his tenure as secretary of state and then governor. White's highest-profile decision was his refusal to certify then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate, which did not keep Burris from taking his seat.

    The office regulates driver's licenses, vehicle registrations, corporations and lobbyists, and serves as the state librarian. Its reach into so many issues in all parts of the state makes it a valuable political position that can lead to higher office.