The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, June 22, 2004  

Marital and Electoral Trouble in Illinois

Bad news for Republicans in Illinois (and Washington, for that matter).

The top headline in today’s Chicago Tribune reads: Ryan File a Bombshell.

It’s not a pretty story, and the details are very un-Rittenhouse, so we’ll just reveal the lead graph: “Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jack Ryan’s ex-wife, TV actress Jeri Ryan, accused him of taking her to sex clubs in New York and Paris, where he tried to coerce her into having sex with him in front of strangers, according to records released Monday from the couple’s California divorce file.”

Needless to say, the fall-out from this story could be dramatic. The Tribune reports (story by John Chase and Liam Ford):

The political impact of the revelations on Jack Ryan’s candidacy will play out over the next several days. One prominent Illinois Republican, U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood of Peoria, said he was “shocked” that Ryan would run for public office carrying such baggage and called on him to get out of the race.

Reaction from other Republicans ranged from caution to outright defense of Ryan.

“We’re not looking at trying to replace Jack Ryan. He’s an excellent candidate,” said Dan Allen, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “We feel this race will be decided on the issues.”

Still, other Republicans acknowleged that Ryan’s political future was in doubt. An adviser to President Bush said the revelation made it more likely the Bush-Cheney campaign would steer clear of Illinois.

FYI: Ryan’s opponent in November is Barack Obama. (A while back I read a fascinating profile of Obama, but I can’t remember where. I’ll try to find it and post a link.)

(See also: “Ex-Wife Says Ryan Pushed Sex Clubs,” by Scott Fornek and Dave McKinney, in the Chicago Sun-Times.)

[Post-publication addendum: Although this isn’t the profile of Obama I had in mind, thanks go out to readers R.S. and B.S. for directing my attention to “The Candidate,” by William Finnegan in the May 31 issue of the New Yorker, the first sentence of which reminds me Obama published Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance in 1995. The book is due out in paperback in August.]

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