GOP candidate for Ill. gov. near declaring

May 30, 2005 at 9:03 AM

ELGIN, Ill., May 30 (UPI) -- Illinois state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, R-Elgin, has all but promised to run for governor next year.

Rauschenberger, who already has a sizeable war chest and a finance committee that includes millionaire former U.S. Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald, said he hopes to make an official announcement in July, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday.

"I want to run in a race that gives us a chance to pull the threads of the party together," Rauschenberger said.

He also said he hopes to persuade U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and others to unite behind him to avoid a repeat of last year's wide-open U.S. Senate primary. That's when political novice Jack Ryan won in an eight-candidate field only to see his campaign self-destruct amid allegations he took his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan, to sex clubs.

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