SPRINGFIELD -- Democrat Jesse White announced Wednesday that he plans to run for a fifth term as Illinois secretary of state, a reversal of the position he took before last year's election.
"I used to jump out of airplanes," said the former Army paratrooper. "You never jump off an airplane and stop halfway. It's all the way."
The crowd at a Democratic rally at the Illinois State Fair cheered loudly at his announcement. White is well-liked personally and has been one of biggest vote-getters in state history. Although much could change between now and 2014, another White campaign could make it much easier for Democrats to hold onto an important statewide office.
Gov. Pat Quinn called White "our secretary of state forever."
White is 77. He'll be 80 at the time of his next election and would be 84 when that fifth term ends.
Last year, White said this would be his last term. But in recent months, he has talked about the possibility of another run.
White has run a scandal-free office after replacing Republican George Ryan, who wound up in prison for corruption during his tenure as secretary of state and then governor. White's highest-profile decision was his refusal to certify then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate, which did not keep Burris from taking his seat.
The office regulates driver's licenses, vehicle registrations, corporations and lobbyists, and serves as the state librarian. Its reach into so many issues in all parts of the state makes it a valuable political position that can lead to higher office.