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Cox tosses his hat into ring for Senate

By John Chase
Tribune staff reporter

July 1, 2003

Portraying himself as a "true conservative," Chicago businessman John Cox launched his third bid for a public office in four years Monday, saying he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

Last year, Cox lost in the Republican primary for Illinois' other Senate seat, and in 2000 he was defeated in the primary for the 10th Congressional District.

A 47-year-old millionaire businessman from Glenview, Cox said this time will be different, in part, because of his previous runs. He noted that he received nearly 200,000 votes in the GOP primary.

"I just need to get more name recognition, more comfort with the people, than I did last time," he said. "And I think that comes from being in the arena a few times."

While saying he likely has a few differences of opinion with Fitzgerald, Cox stressed that, if elected, he would follow many of his predecessor's positions. He said he would do all he could to block federal funding for a major expansion of O'Hare International Airport and work for a school voucher system.

"I am dedicated to building a true conservative movement in Illinois," he said during his announcement at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago.

Fitzgerald announced in April that he would not seek re-election.

Though he spent about $1 million of his own money on the Senate race and $500,000 for the congressional bid, Cox said he plans to spend "a lot less" for this run. "I spent too much on my last campaign."

Cox is the third announced GOP candidate seeking the Senate seat, and both of his competitors are also wealthy.

Last week, Andrew McKenna Jr., president of Schwarz Paper Co. in Morton Grove, declared his long-expected candidacy, while contender Jack Ryan, a wealthy investment broker-turned-schoolteacher, has pledged to put $6 million of his money into the race.

Several other Republicans are also considering a bid, including Thomas McCracken, chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority, dairy owner and investment manager James D. Oberweis and state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger.

Copyright © 2003, Chicago Tribune

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