Ditka won't run for Senate in Illinois

July 15, 2004 at 8:02 AM

CHICAGO, July 15 (UPI) -- Hall of Fame football coach Mike Ditka has decided to punt and says he will not be the Illinois Republican Party's replacement candidate for U.S. Senate.

Ditka's decision, announced at an impromptu news conference in front of his Chicago restaurant after a party fundraiser Wednesday, said he's not willing to give up his endorsements and committments to run.

That leaves the Illinois GOP still searching for a candidate to replace nominee Jack Ryan, who withdrew three weeks ago after sex club allegations in his divorce became public.

"Five or six years ago I would have jumped on it and I would have run with it, and I know this, that I would make a good senator, because I would be for the people," Ditka said.

The 64-year-old former Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears coach had won endorsements from some party leaders relishing the media frenzy over his possible entry into the U.S. Senate race.

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