Burt Minor now says he's in race until the end
A day after he raised the possibility of stepping out of the race after the March 20 primary to give Republicans a better shot of winning in November, Illinois House candidate Burt Minor said Wednesday he has no intention of dropping out.
"Absolutely not. No one is going to make me leave the race except for the voters of the 42nd District," said Minor, Winfield Township Republican chairman and one of three Republican candidates for the seat. "I will stay in until the voters vote me out."
Minor, of Warrenville, is running against DuPage County Board member Amy Grant and 29-year-old political newcomer Ryan Byrne, both of Wheaton.
Minor said he was speaking "hypothetically" on Tuesday when he floated the idea of withdrawing during a phone interview with the Daily Herald by saying, "Would I step down and let someone else run? Maybe."
During a phone interview on Wednesday, Miner said he didn't mean to suggest that withdrawing from the general election was a viable option and that he has gotten plenty of support even after some prominent politicians demanded that he abandon the race.
U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano and Gov. Bruce Rauner of Winnetka are among those urging Minor to drop out.
Minor's campaign has been in turmoil since allegations that he used a homosexual slur and a racial epithet while meeting in October with GOP attorney general candidate Erika Harold of Urbana. The two give different stories about what happened, though Minor admits using the "N-word" during their meeting and asking whether Harold is a lesbian.
On Wednesday, Grant and Byrne both said they have no reason to doubt Harold's account of what happened.
"I don't see what she has to gain by falsifying this claim," Byrne said in an email.
While Byrne has called on Minor to drop out of the primary race, Grant said, "it doesn't matter to me one way or the other."
Whoever wins in the primary, this controversy has damaged the Republican's chances in November, according to Minor.
"It will be tough for anyone to win," Minor said. "The Republican Party is destroying itself."
Grant and Byrne disagree.
"Mr. Minor greatly exaggerates the effect of what his poor behavior will have on other DuPage Republicans in general or this race in particular," Grant said.
Byrne said the only way the controversy hurts the GOP's chances in November "is if Burt Minor wins the primary."