Illinois GOP Asks Keyes to Run for Senate

gwhunter69

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Illinois GOP Asks Keyes to Run for Senate

Thu Aug 5, 5:41 AM ET

By MAURA KELLY LANNAN, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - With the general election less than three months away, former presidential hopeful Alan Keyes says he needs a few days to decide whether he wants to accept the Illinois GOP's offer to be its Senate candidate.

Keyes, a Maryland resident, told Republican leaders who offered him the nomination Wednesday night that he would make his decision known Sunday. Under the law, Keyes would have to live in Illinois only by Election Day.

Asked how he felt about making a Senate run from a state he had never lived in, he responded: "As a matter of principle, I don't think it's a good idea."

"It has to be something where I would be convinced it's not only consonant with federalism as I understand it but that it's in the best interest of the state and of the nation," Keyes said.

If he enters the race, Keyes will be stepping into the national spotlight with another Harvard-educated, polished debater — Democratic rising star Barack Obama — and setting up the first Senate election with two black candidates representing the major parties.

Obama's newly acquired high profile, Keyes said, means Democrats have "thrown down a gauntlet of national challenge" to the Illinois Republican Party.

Obama called the GOP choice of a black candidate "a hopeful sign for the country," adding, "I think obviously when we have 100 U.S. senators and none are African American, that's something that doesn't just trouble African Americans, I think it troubles all Americans."

For Illinois Republicans, it's been a laborious six-week search for a Senate candidate with the name recognition, fund-raising ability and willingness to take on Obama, a state senator from Chicago who has raised more than $10 million and gave the keynote address last month at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

The GOP primary winner, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the Senate race in late June amid embarrassing sex club allegations in his divorce records. He was seeking to replace retiring Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

Keyes ran for Senate in Maryland in 1988 as the Republican candidate after the primary winner withdrew. Keyes received 38.2 percent of the vote.

In 1992, Keyes got 29 percent against Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., amid grumbling by some voters that he had been paying himself a salary with campaign funds.

Keyes, who has been a national writer and speaker and had a syndicated radio show, is widely known for his conservative views. He opposes abortion and gay rights, wants to replace the income tax with a national sales tax, thinks parents should be able to send their children to schools that reflect their faith and calls affirmative action a "government patronage program."
 

gwhunter69

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Keyes planning to run

August 5, 2004

BY SCOTT FORNEK POLITICAL REPORTER

Let the debate begin.

Former presidential hopeful Alan Keyes told Illinois Republicans that he would accept their request to take on Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate race if they offered him the nomination.

Members of the Republican State Central Committee insisted that the former radio and television commentator make the promise before they would vote to give him the nod Wednesday night, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday.

“So he went back into the room and basically said, ‘If you offer, I will accept,’ ” said a source close to the negotiations.

The 19-member committee was worried about another embarrassment in its tortured efforts to find a replacement for Jack Ryan, who stepped down amid allegations he once took his wife to sex clubs, the source said. Republicans were leery of voting to give Keyes the nomination without some guarantee.

“ ‘We’ve made such a mess of this over the past 5-1/2 weeks that, God forbid, we offer it to him and he turns it down,’ ” a member of the panel told the source.

Another GOP source said Keyes agreed to accept the nomination but told the committee he wanted to wait until he could publicly announce it at a “campaign-style rally” on Sunday.

“He told them he would do it,” the source said. “He just wanted to take a few days to put things together and make his announcement.”

A Keyes confidant would not confirm the reports.

“Alan made very clear to the Illinois Republican Party leaders last night that he was taking their offer with the utmost seriousness and the full intent to explore fully exactly what the implications would be,” said Bill Pascoe, who is helping Keyes during the talks. “He respects the deliberative processs that resulted in the nomination being offered to him and feels an obligation to engage in exactly the same kind of deliberative process before responding.”

State Sen. Dave Syverson, a panel member who was Keyes’ champion before the group, insisted there was no agreement, saying that Keyes wanted to talk first to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, outgoing GOP Sen. Peter Fitzgerald -- whose seat is at stake -- and Virginia Sen. George Allen, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“Oh, I think he’ll do it,” Syverson said of Keyes. “I think he said he felt pretty confident, but said he would not make any final decisioins until he talked to those leaders.”

Syverson said he was at least 75 percent certain Keyes would make the run.

“My understanding is the speaker was very positive and Peter [Fitzgerald] was ecstatic,” the Rockford senator said.

During the hours of deliberation on Wednesday, Keyes had the informal support of a majority of the panel, but many were skittish about voting for him because of past fiascos, such as the courting of Bears legend Mike Ditka and others eyed for the nomination.

“So there was a significant group -- 25 percent of the weighted vote -- who wanted to vote for Alan but abstained because they weren’t sure that he would take it,” the source said.

After some last-minute negotiations in a holding room between Keyes and Syverson, Keyes went into the room in the Union League Club and told the committee he would accept, but wanted time for telephone calls, assembling a campaign team and planning the Sunday rally, the source said.

Keyes wound up with two-thirds of the weighted vote. He then stood with the 19-member panel and state GOP Chairman Judy Baar Topinka to tell reporters he was “deeply honored” that the committee made the offer, but he needed to give it “deep and serious and committed deliberation about what ought to be my response.”

If Keyes follows through on the promise he made, it would be the first statewide contest in the nation in which each major party fielded a black nominee. And it would pit two gifted orators from opposite ends of the political spectrum against one another.

“This is history in the Land of Lincoln,” Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Maureen Murphy, a member of the panel that made the offer said Wednesday night. “To have two polar opposites doing Lincoln-Douglas debates is something I look forward to.”


Copyright © The Sun-Times Company
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
 

paulc

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Hate to say it but Keyes will get stomped.

Obama is smart, talks like a moderate, and has the same Charisma as Snoop Dog. I am not comparing the 2 except in the charisma dept. He definetly reflects confidence.
 

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Keyes Joins US Senate Race in Illinois
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Editor
August 09, 2004

(CNSNews.com) - Alan Keyes, a two-time Republican presidential hopeful, entered the race for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois on Sunday, making it likely that a black candidate will win the office on Nov. 2.

"We do face an uphill battle, there's no doubt," Keyes told hundreds of supporters during a rally in Arlington Heights, Ill. "So I'm not going to stand here and with tremendous ease promise you a victory. But I'll tell you what I will promise. I will promise you a fight!"

Keyes will attempt to the fill the void left by previous nominee Jack Ryan, who left the race because of a sex-scandal controversy six weeks ago. The former ambassador and current Maryland resident will face Barack Obama, a popular Democratic state senator, on Election Day less than three months from now.

Keyes also said that he decided to enter the race after reviewing Obama's record on abortion, gun control and taxes and determined that someone must challenge him.

"He has never seen a spending bill he couldn't find some excuse for and has never seen a tax increase he didn't like," Keyes stated. "We find somebody who, in the tradition of a lot of the liberals, would rather that our children are educated in schools controlled by impersonal bureaucracy than in schools under the influence and control of the parents who love them and care about their future."

In a statement released to the press, Obama said that as Keyes travels the state, he'll find that "families here are concerned about quality jobs, making health care more affordable and ensuring our children get the best education possible.

"And Illinoisans want a Senate candidate who will attack the problems they and their families face rather than spending time attacking each other," Obama said.

The battle to replace retiring GOP Sen. Peter Fitzgerald will be the first U.S. Senate election with two black candidates representing the major parties, and apparently ensures that Illinois will produce only the fifth black senator in history.

One of Keyes' first objectives will be to establish residency in the state, "which is not hard to do," said Mary Alice Erickson from the Republican State Committee. "He just signs a lease somewhere and moves to Illinois."

State Sen. Dan Rutherford (R-53rd District) claims that Keyes is more in tune with local issues than others might give him credit for.

"I think that on the national scope, Illinois issues aren't too different from those of Maryland or California," Rutherford said.

Even before Keyes got into the race, he received harsh criticism from a familiar figure in local politics: Rev. Jesse Jackson, who told the Chicago Sun-Times: "It's Barack versus a ghost."

"He's not even a resident of this state," Jackson said of Keyes on Saturday. "Bringing in Keyes to compete with Barack," whom Jackson has already endorsed, shows that the Republicans are "desperate."

Jackson also claimed that the candidates' differences are as stark as those of black U.S. Supreme Court justices Thurgood Marshall, a liberal, and conservative Clarence Thomas.

On Sunday, a representative for NARAL Pro-Choice America called Keyes "right in line" with other "anti-choice" Republican senate candidates.

Elizabeth Cavendish, interim president of the liberal organization, said: "Alan Keyes fits right in to a Republican slate that represents the true, out-of-the-mainstream face of the GOP under George W. Bush. Voters will surely see through their mask of moderation come November.

"George W. Bush has amassed an aggressively anti-choice record during his four years as president," Cavendish added. Having supporters in the Senate like Keyes "would enable him to further roll back the rights we have fought so hard to win over the last three decades for the women of America."

"If you want to keep yourself awake at night, just imagine this group voting on President Bush's likely nominees to the Supreme Court and allowing him to tip the balance against Roe v. Wade," she noted. "Pro-choice Americans need to mobilize for this election as if our lives were on the line -- because they are."
 
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