Ryan Considers Quitting

Chicago Sun-Times — Ryan ‘reassessing’ bid

Beleaguered Senate Republican candidate Jack Ryan is considering quitting the race in the uproar touched off by the release of his divorce records, a Republican source told the Chicago Sun- Times on Thursday.

“He’s reassessing,” the source said. Ryan canceled a trip to Washington today where he had planned to appear with Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) and attend a fund raiser headlined by Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), the chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Another fund raiser that had been set for this morning with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was also canceled when Hastert had a meeting at the White House. That cancellation contributed to the perception that the Ryan campaign was facing opposition from one of the top political leaders in the state.

The source said that Ryan was particularly concerned that the “tabloids are going after” Jeri Lynn Ryan, his former wife who alleged that Ryan brought her to sex clubs when they were married. Jeri Ryan is a television actress known for her roles on “Star Trek” and “Boston Public.”

One suspects withdrawing and allowing someone else to run is Ryan’s best course at this stage of the game. It’s still early enough that it’s not tantamount to pulling a Torricelli, although I’m a little queasy about candidates quitting after the general election campaign has started after that fiasco.

UPDATE (6/25): AP — GOP Sources: Ryan to Abandon Senate Bid

Illinois Republican candidate Jack Ryan intends to abandon his Senate bid after four days spent trying to weather a political storm stirred by sex club allegations, GOP officials said Friday. A formal announcement was expected within hours, said these officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ryan conducted an overnight poll to gauge his support in the wake of the allegations made by his ex-wife in divorce records unsealed earlier this week. Aides said in advance his only options were to withdraw or to redouble his campaign efforts with a massive infusion of money from his personal wealth.
Illinois GOP leaders would select another candidate in the event of a withdrawal. Ryan’s replacement would become an instant underdog in a campaign against Democratic State Sen. Barack Obama.

UPDATE (6/26): It’s official.

AP — Illinois’ Jack Ryan Abandons Senate Bid

Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan dropped out of the race Friday amid a furor over lurid sex club allegations that horrified fellow Republicans and caused his once-promising candidacy to implode in four short days.

“It’s clear to me that a vigorous debate on the issues most likely could not take place if I remain in the race,” Ryan, 44, said in a statement. “What would take place, rather, is a brutal, scorched-earth campaign — the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play.”

The campaign began to come apart Monday following the release of embarrassing records from Ryan’s divorce. In those records, his ex-wife, “Boston Public (news – web sites)” actress Jeri Ryan, said Ryan took her to kinky sex clubs in Paris, New York and New Orleans and tried to get her to perform sex acts with him while others watched.

Ryan disputed the allegations, saying he and his wife went to one “avant-garde” club in Paris and left because they felt uncomfortable.

In quitting the race, Ryan lashed out at the media and said it was “truly outrageous” that the Chicago Tribune got a judge to unseal the records.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.