CHICAGO (NBC) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White won’t seek a seventh term in office when he’s up for re-election in 2022, he said and two sources close to him confirmed on Thursday.
A spokesman for White told NBC Chicago the revelation wasn’t new and that White “said it when he was re-elected last time” in 2018. White, 85, reiterated his decision at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday, with Politico Illinois reporting that he called his current term his “last tour of duty” but adding that he had no plans to step down before his term ends.
White had previously hinted at plans for retirement and officially announced he would not seek re-election in two separate election cycles before changing his mind. The first was before the 2014 election and then he announced his retirement once more, again at the Illinois State Fair, in 2015.
He changed his mind two years later and easily won re-election in 2018, after once again saying in an meeting with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board that his next term would be his last.
First elected in 1998, White is the longest serving secretary of state in Illinois’ history. He previously served as the Cook County Recorder of Deeds beginning in 1993 and as a state legislator in the Illinois House for 18 years before that.
He has consistently received the highest number of votes statewide, with his popularity serving as a potential boon to other Democratic candidates down the ballot.
Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call