For all the Democratic star power standing behind Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Tuesday, you might expect the quintessential caricature of a “politician,” with a booming voice and larger-than-life presence working the room.
No so with White, who took to the microphone to announce his plans to seek a fourth term. He was his usual soft-spoken, humble, and almost reticent self, a far cry from what’s expected of some Chicagos elected officials. That’s probably one of the factor’s behind the star power lining up to support him.
Lisa Madigan, who announced her own run for a third term as Attorney General in July, praised White’s accomplishments. Citing his background as a U.S. Army paratrooper, Chicago Cubs player, and founder of the Jesse White Tumbling Team, Madigan said, “It’s no wonder that Jesse White is the most popular elected official in the State of Illinois.”
White, 75, received endorsements from city and state elected officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn and state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
“I will always, always work on behalf of the people of Illinois,” White said, adding, “I have enjoyed this ride and I’m going to ride it one more time.”
If reelected, White will become the first secretary of state since Republican James A. Rose to win a fourth term. Rose served from 1897 to 1912. White is Illinois’s 37th Secretary of State.
First elected in 1998, he received more than 2.3 million votes, or 68 percent, in his 2002 reelection. In his third run, White tallied 2.2 million votes, about 63 percent of the electorate. His only challenger thus far in this election is Aurora businessman Robert Enriquez, a Republican, who announced his run on Monday.