Joseph Birkett (R)

Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-The first Republican has thrown his hat into the 2010 race for Illinois attorney general.

DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett, who had considered a run for governor, announced his candidacy for the state's chief legal officer Thursday.

This will be Birkett's third bid for statewide office in the Land of Lincoln.

In 2002, he lost the attorney general's race to Democrat Lisa Madiagn, who currently holds the post. Four years later, he ran for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket with gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka.

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 yet to declare whether she will seek reelection as attorney general or run for another office, such as U.S. Senate or governor.

Announcing his run for AG, Birkett, 54, said serving as attorney general would be a better fit for him than governor.

"I've spent the last several months traveling around the state, talking to people about a possible run for governor. But I've decided that I want to remain a prosecutor," he said in a video on his campaign Web site.

Birkett has been DuPage County state's attorney since 1996.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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