Illinois' Secretary of State Election a Battle to Replace Jesse White

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is leaving public office after nearly a quarter of a century, and a trio of candidates are vying to replace him in the position.

The 88-year-old White has served as secretary of state since 1999 when George Ryan was elected as governor of Illinois. Since then, he has routinely collected nearly two-thirds of the vote in every one of his reelection bids, including a 68.3% vote share as he rolled to victory over Jason Helland and Steve Dutner in 2018.

Now, White will take a step out of the political theater, and three different candidates are hoping to replace him in office.

On the Democratic side of the ledger, former Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias secured the party’s nomination in June, and hopes to keep the position in the blue column.

Giannoulias served as the state’s treasurer for one term, then chose to run for a U.S. Senate seat in a 2010 race that he ultimately lost to former Sen. Mark Kirk.

Since then, Giannoulias has served as an executive with BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and joined the Chicago Public Library Board in 2018.

On his campaign website, Giannoulias says he is running on a variety of platform planks, including further protecting voting rights in the state of Illinois, toughening ethics laws, and continuing to work on modernizing and streamlining services offered at Department of Motor Vehicles offices.

With Jesse White retiring, state Democrats hope to hold on to the Secretary of State seat while Republicans see an opening. Already there's a disagreement between the Republican and Democratic nominee over license plate readers and whether the secretary of state should get involved. NBC 5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern spoke to both candidates and has the latest. 

State Rep. Dan Brady collected his party’s nomination for the secretary of state’s position earlier this summer with a runaway victory over John Milhiser. Brady has served in the State House since 2001, and is currently serving as the deputy minority leader in that body.

Brady serves on several key committees in the House, including the higher education, insurance and rules committees.

On his campaign website, Brady also advocates strongly for streamlining services offered by the DMV, and he goes a step further in proposing mobile services for several different populations, including senior residents. He also says he will prioritize the development of local libraries, and he wants to overhaul driver’s education courses for young drivers.

Finally, the Libertarian Party nominated Jon Stewart for its spot on the ballot. Stewart, a former professional wrestler, has run for several Illinois offices previously, including state representative races and two Congressional bids, the most recent of which came in 2009.

He runs a car dealership in suburban Deerfield, according to his campaign bio.

While Stewart does not have a campaign website, he does have a YouTube page for his campaign.

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