Monday, November 02, 2009

Illinois GOP Gets Another Loser Candidate For Governor

I see things aren't getting any brighter in my home state of Illinois for the GOP. Today, former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan announced he will seek the governor's office in 2010 as a Republican. Ryan lost badly to Rod Blagojevich when he first ran for governor in 2002. Jim Ryan's campaign wasn't helped by the fact that he shared the same last name of the outgoing governor, George Ryan, who is currently serving time in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute for his public corruption. Things haven't gotten any brighter for Jim Ryan in the ensuing years. The facts surrounding Ryan's prosecution of Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez as the DuPage County State's Attorney resulting in their wrongful conviction in a death penalty case have been particularly damaging. Ryan refused to acknowledge the mistake even after the real killer confessed to the crime. Eventually, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned their conviction in 1994 with no help from Ryan, who later became the state's Attorney General. Three former prosecutors in Ryan's office were charged with misconduct, although they were eventually acquitted, and a $3.5 million settlement payment was paid out to the wrongfully convicted defendants. During the corruption trial of Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko, Ryan's top political fundraiser and best friend from law school, Stuart Levine, emerged as a key figure in the Democratic governor's pay-to-play political scams. Levine and Tony Rezko conspired to rip off investment firms. It also turned out that Ryan's long-time friend had a double life as a gay man hosting all-night drug parties with his male friends at The Purple Hotel. And finally, Ryan once employed Abdul Hakim-Shabazz as a spokesperson when he was Illinois' Attorney General. Shabazz is reportedly itching to get back to work for his former boss. If Illinois Republicans have any chance of reclaiming the governor's office in 2010, Jim Ryan is not the man to do it.

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