Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, withdrew his petition to run for Illinois secretary of state Tuesday afternoon.
That means that incumbent Jesse White and current Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland, R-Mazon, are set up to be the only two candidates for the position and will advance through the primaries to the Nov. 6 general election.
White’s re-election campaign announced Wednesday morning that Hastings would be named honorary co-chairman of his re-election campaign committee.
“The south suburbs are a great place to get a job, raise a family and earn a decent wage. It is no secret that they have a great state senator representing them in Springfield,” White said in a news release. “Sen. Michael Hastings relentlessly fights for his constituents and has led the charge on many initiatives my office has needed in Springfield. He is a true champion for working-class men and women of this state, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in Springfield.”
Helland, however, isn’t certain who the race eventually will be against because White has stated several times before that he planned to retire before both the 2010 and this election.
“The Senate Democrats had good reason to think he wasn’t going to run,” Helland said, pointing to the 10,000 signatures required to file Hastings’ petition. “What’s really clear to me is that the Democrats are unsure if Jesse White can fulfill his obligation for another four-year term.”
White could win the primary, with no opponent, and then decide to withdraw and handpick a replacement.
“There’s no better evidence of someone’s intent than their statements,” Helland said. “The only reason he is still in the position and running is that he has to control jobs for Mike Madigan.”
Helland said he is prepared to run against any Democratic opponent in the general election.
“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Helland said. “We know we are going to run a very competitive race no matter who the opponent is.”
“The great success he has had as secretary of state is because of his commitment to excellence and his tireless work ethic,” Hastings said in the release. “I am proud to join him in his campaign to continue providing the excellent, innovative customer services Secretary White and his team have offered throughout his time in office.”