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Jesse White To Run For Record Fifth Term As Secretary Of State

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced he’s seeking a record-breaking fifth term in office, and for the moment, he’s running without any opposition.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, at age 79, White said this might be his run for office, but he’s certainly not thinking of slowing down.

“I’m a former military person, and I used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. You never jump out of an airplane and stop halfway; it’s all the way,” he said. “I also believe, too, having served 10 years in the military, that when there is a mission before you, you see it from its beginning to its conclusion.”

White noted he’ll become longest-serving secretary of state in Illinois history next May, after the primary, but six months before the general election. If he won, he’d be the first person to ever serve five terms in that office.

He said his priorities remain battling drunken and distracted driving.

Among those on-hand to endorse White was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who praised White’s overhaul of the Secretary of State’s office in the wake of the licenses-for-bribes scandal that led to the conviction of former Gov. George Ryan, who was secretary of state before White.

“I’m proud to stand with Jesse White, and all that he has done, and everybody else here,” Emanuel said. “Everybody that’s standing here is representative of how Jesse, over the years, has touched so many people’s lives.”

White backed Emanuel’s run for mayor in 2011.

So far, White is the only announced candidate for the office, which is little surprise given his popularity in Illinois. He won in 2010 with nearly 70 percent of the vote, and won his first term in 1998 with 55 percent of the vote.