Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran says he's changed his mind about seeking statewide office and wants to return for a third term in his current job.
Curran, a Republican from Libertyville, announced Wednesday he'll seek re-election in 2014 and not run for attorney general. He said "prayerful reflection," along with consultation with family and friends, led him to change his mind and pursue his third, 4-year term as Lake County sheriff.
"I have great clarity," Curran said of his decision. "I have great peace."
But recently retired Mundelein Police Chief Raymond J. Rose said Curran's announcement surprised him because it's opposite of what the sheriff told him in a meeting the men had in December. Rose publicly expressed interest in running for sheriff after Curran said he was seriously considering joining the race for attorney general in the 2014 election.
"He was adamant he wasn't going to run for sheriff," Rose said Wednesday, "and he said he was through and he would support me."
Curran said he "absolutely" denies Rose's portrayal of their conversation and that he'd never back one Republican over another in a local election primary while seeking a statewide office.
"If he (Rose) wants to run, game on," Curran said.
Rose, whose retirement began Jan. 31, said Democrats and Republicans in Lake County have approached him about running for sheriff because he would represent a law-enforcement perspective in the office. He said family considerations will be part of his process before making a decision that could come in about a month.
In December, Curran cited a statewide need to better combat crime and corruption as reasons he was seriously considering a bid for attorney general even if Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan sought re-election.
As part of his decision to seek re-election, Curran said he has much he wants to accomplish and points to achievements in the office under his watch, such as coming in under budget the past six years and increasing the number of deputies patrolling the streets by restructuring the court security division.
Curran garnered statewide attention late last year when he testified before lawmakers in Springfield on the benefits of allowing illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses. The proposal became law with Gov. Pat Quinn's signature on a bill in January.