White Expected To Win Big, Again, In Illinois SOS Race

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October 30, 2010

Democratic incumbent Secretary of State Jesse White

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: The anticipated voter backlash against incumbents, and particularly Democratic incumbents, may mean that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White won’t carry each of Illinois’ 102 counties. But he is widely expected to win handily.

White, who is seeking his fourth term as Illinois Secretary of State, is considered one of the state’s most popular and most successful candidates. Republican newcomer Robert Enriquez has stepped up to the daunting task of trying to unseat White.

University of Illinois at Springfield political science professor Kent Redfield said Enriquez is essentially “taking one for the team” in deciding to take on White.

“It’s a daunting task to take-on such a popular incumbent. And in a Democratic state like Illinois, with White’s African American base, the GOP would have had to have spent a lot of money to be successful. And that hasn’t happened,” said Redfield.

The professor attributes White success winning three straight terms while racking up impressive vote totals, to his personal story and ability to avoid scandal.

It was scandal that plagued White’s predecessor in the office. Former governor George Ryan is serving six and a half years in prison for his actions while Secretary of State. University of Illinois researcher and author Jim Nowlan said White is also different because he has not sought to follow Ryan to the governor’s mansion.

“Jesse White’s ambitions have always been modest compared to other elected officials in the state of Illinois.”

Nowlan adds that Governor Ryan and Governor Jim Edgar both served as Secretary of State before running for the top job.

White has hinted that the 2010 contest may be his last. Both Nowlan and Redfield said if that is true, the next race for Secretary of State could be one of the biggest in Illinois’ recent political history.

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