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Can This Man Beat Illinois' Most Popular Politician?

Mike Webster

Illinois' longtime secretary of state finally has at least one challenger in next year's election. Republican Mike Webster says he'll take on Democrat Jesse White.

White is seeking his fifth term as secretary of state. He's a formidable opponent, winning each of his four elections by double-digit margins (see: 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010), and once carrying all of Illinois' 102 counties.

But he's been dogged by accusations of nepotism, and his office has faced allegations of corruption. The most recent case was a friend of White's — a high-ranking official making $75,000 a year while also allegedly claiming she was a home health care worker for the state.

Webster, the Republican, says those are the kinds of "political shenanigans" he'll end.

"What we have right now is not working, so the current secretary of state is part of that system," Webster says. "And I don't believe that any politician is an institution."

Webster says he'll also work to modernize the office.

An attorney and CPA, Webster is in his third term on the school board in west-suburban Darien.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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