Ryan Quits Senate Bid after Scandal over Divorce; Unsealed Court Records Reveal Sexual Accusations by Ex-Wife
Byline: Charles Hurt, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Illinois Republican candidate Jack Ryan quit his Senate campaign yesterday, succumbing to a growing scandal based on accusations made during a nasty divorce.
Mr. Ryan, 44, a successful businessman and newcomer to politics, announced his withdrawal yesterday, four days after his divorce records were unsealed. According to those records, his former wife, actress Jeri Ryan, accused Mr. Ryan of asking her to perform sex acts in public while attending a strip club.
The announcement brought relief for Republicans.
"Jack Ryan made the right decision," said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, a fellow Illinois Republican. "I know it must have been a difficult one."
Even before the scandal erupted, Republicans were not hopeful about holding onto the seat in the heavily Democratic state. The seat is being vacated by Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald, a wealthy Republican who won the seat largely because of dissatisfaction with Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.
State Republicans were particularly concerned that the scandal might erode the chances of other Republicans on the ticket in November's election.
As soon as Mr. Ryan made his announcement, Republicans began eyeing replacements to face Democratic state Sen. Barack Obama.
Names being floated include U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, no relation to the retiring senator, state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger and Illinois School Board member Ron Gidwitz.
"The Illinois Republican Party is fortunate to have a number of talented and qualified candidates who would represent our state well in Washington, D.C," Mr. Hastert said. …