Birkett bows out of Illinois attorney general race

Chris Rizo Aug. 8, 2009, 3:00pm

Joseph Birkett (R)

Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-Republican Joseph Birkett has dropped out of the 2010 race for Illinois attorney general, saying it is "virtually impossible" to unseat Lisa Madigan, a Democrat.

The DuPage County State's Attorney decided against making a third bid for statewide office in the Land of Lincoln, and a rematch against Madigan, to whom he lost the 2002 AG race.

"It has become clear to my advisors and me that it will be virtually impossible to compete financially with Lisa Madigan," Birkett said in a statement on his campaign's Web site. "It would be wrong for me to run and to ask people to contribute to a race that that is virtually unwinnable under the circumstances."

No other Republican has announced a run against Madigan.

In the Nov. 5, 2002, general election Madigan won 50.4 percent of the statewide vote, making the Chicagoan the state's first female attorney general. In 2006, she was handily reelected with 72.4 percent of the vote against Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart "Stu" Umholtz.

Madigan, who is widely considered a heavyweight in Democratic politics, has said she will seek reelection rather than making a run for U.S. Senate or governor, as some pundits thought she might. Her father is Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also is chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Birkett, 54, has been DuPage County state's attorney since 1996. In 2006, he ran for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket with gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka.

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