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Jesse White Runs For Re-election For The Last Time (Really, This Time)

Secretary of State's Office
Secretary of State

Four years ago, Jesse White promised it was going to be his last run for Secretary of State.

But he's back on the ballot, seeking re-election.

"I believe that when you take on a job, you take on the responsibility that goes with it. I'm also a former military person, so I believe that when there's a mission before you, you see it from its beginning to its conclusion,"  White said. "I was inundated by telephone calls, emails and talking with friends, neighbors and colleagues, and they thought that I should try to extend my tenure with another tour of duty. As I said before, I'm a military man. So I like to follow orders."

White is Illinois' longest-serving Secretary of State. He's been in office since 1998. The Democrat says this really will be his last "tour of duty." If he wins. He's soaring ahead in polls against Republican Mike Webster, an attorney and accountant from Hinsdale who says he's the farthest thing from being a career politician. His only elected office is serving on a local school board. He says White's nearly sixteen-years as Secretary of State is too long.

"We have a culture that's developed in Springfield politics of individuals who get elected to an office and tend to stay there for their entire career," Webster said. "I believe that people get into politics for the right reasons, but also it appears that once they're elected or get entrenched in an office, they tend to start serving their own best interest as opposed to the people that put 'em there."

Webster says he would self-impose an eight-year term limit.

Webster says at his private law practice, he works with businesses daily, and as Secretary of State would focus on improving the office's business services. He says he wants to remove "bureaucratic, red tape" to make things easier for new and small firms.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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