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elections

Conservative candidate Cox pulls out of GOP race for Senate

October 9, 2003

BY SCOTT FORNEK Political Reporter

Republican millionaire John Cox decided not to put his money where his mouth was this time around.

The Gold Coast businessman and radio talk show host plans to fold his bid for U.S. Senate today, opting not to dip into his personal wealth to make up for fund-raising that one source described as "embarrassing."

"Fund-raising was a huge problem, and he had to make the decision whether he wanted to self-finance or not," said another source close to the campaign.

Always ready to mix it up with his rivals, Cox, 48, was one of the most vocal of the nine announced GOP candidates in the race to succeed Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. But today Cox is expected to throw his support to state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger.

"John is concerned that if you've got a bunch of conservatives fighting it out for one vote, the problem is that maybe a more moderate candidate who doesn't have the same views as Steve and John would emerge from the primary," said Nicholas Tyszka , Cox's campaign manager.

But even if he wanted to fund his campaign himself, Cox likely could not have paid for the entire contest without wiping out his fortune. The primary and general election could cost upwards of $15 million, and Cox filed documents showing his net worth somewhere between $1.4 million and $9 million.

Just last year, he reached into his pocket for $1,022,507 to pay for a failed run for Senate, after dropping $548,000 on an unsuccessful 2000 bid for Congress. This time, Cox vowed to rely more on outside contributors, but a disclosure report due later this month "would kind of been embarrassing," a source said.

"The fund-raising wasn't there," the source said.

The other source said Cox was hobbled by his opposition to the O'Hare Airport expansion and his attacks on Mayor Daley -- positions unpopular with the GOP business leaders he needed to court for contributions.

"John's alienated himself from those folks by blasting the mayor all the time," the source said. "It would be very hard for someone to support John publicly who also needs to befriend the mayor."

Besides being a lawyer, accountant and businessman, Cox hosts a radio program called "The Progressive Conservative" on WJJG-AM (1530). In one of its more notorious segments, rock star Ted Nugent made a guest appearance in August and denounced Illinois voters as "spineless, apathetic, embarrassing wimps."

Cox's exodus leaves four GOP millionaires in the race -- former investment banker turned teacher Jack Ryan; businessman Andy McKenna Jr.; dairy and investment magnate Jim Oberweis, and Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, a physician-turned businessman.

Other potential or announced GOP candidates include retired Air Force Major Gen. John Borling; former state Rep. Jonathan Wright; entrepreneur Antonio Davis-Fairman; Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood, and former state Sen. Patrick J. O'Malley.





 
 











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