Illinois GOP narrows Senate choices

Aug. 3, 2004 at 9:57 PM

CHICAGO, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Illinois Republicans have narrowed the GOP field of U.S. Senate candidates to a conservative radio commentator and a former Bush administration official.

Both finalists -- two-time Republican presidential hopeful Alan Keyes and former Deputy Drug Cczar Dr. Andrea Grubb-Barthwell -- are African-Americans, WTTW-TV, Chicago, said.

Keyes lives in Maryland, where he twice ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat. Grubb-Barthwell is a former Democrat.

Party committeemen will name their nominee Wednesday to face Democrat Barack Obama, also an African-American.

"We've come down to two very, very good candidates," said State Republican Party Chairman Judy Baar Topinka.

The party's 19-member State Central Committee spent Tuesday listening to a dozen potential candidates explain why they should replace Illinois primary winner Jack Ryan on the fall ballot.

Ryan withdrew five weeks ago amid a scandal over allegations he tried to pressure his former wife to perform sex acts in front of strangers at sex clubs.

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