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Saturday, June 26, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
CHICAGO Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan dropped out of the race yesterday amid a furor over lurid sex-club allegations that horrified fellow Republicans and caused his once-promising candidacy to implode in four short days.
"It's clear to me that a vigorous debate on the issues most likely could not take place if I remain in the race," Ryan, 44, said in a statement. "What would take place, rather, is a brutal, scorched-earth campaign the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play."
The campaign began to come apart Monday after the release of embarrassing records from Ryan's divorce. In those records, his ex-wife, "Boston Public" actress Jeri Ryan, said Ryan took her to kinky sex clubs in Paris, New York and New Orleans and tried to get her to perform sex acts with him while others watched. Ryan disputed the allegations, saying he and his wife went to one "avant-garde" club in Paris and left because they felt uncomfortable.
Ryan lashed out at the media yesterday and said it was "truly outrageous" that the Chicago Tribune persuaded a judge to unseal the records.
Top Illinois Republicans immediately began the work of selecting a new candidate. Their choice will become an instant underdog against Democratic state Sen. Barack Obama in the campaign for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. Obama had a wide lead even before the scandal broke.
Democrat to speak at GOP convention
WASHINGTON Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, the highest-profile Democrat to endorse President Bush for re-election, will speak at the Republican National Convention in New York this summer, a congressional aide said yesterday.
Miller drew a sharp rebuke from the dean of the state's congressional delegation, Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who called the senator's decision "a shame and a disgrace."
"I think he has sold his soul for a mess of pottage," Lewis said, in a reference to a speech Miller gave as a congressional candidate 40 years ago in which he argued that President Johnson was "a Southerner who sold his birthright for a mess of dark pottage" because of his support for the Civil Rights Act.
Pottage is defined as a thick soup or stew of vegetables.
Kerry does marathon campaigning
MASSILLON, Ohio Comedian Billy Crystal teased Sen. John Kerry, "If you're having a good time, tell your face," but the dour-looking Democrat had an excuse for looking drawn yesterday after scheduling 36 hours of nearly nonstop campaigning on both coasts, plus a Midwest stop.
Kerry's marathon itinerary included campaigning in down-and-out Stark County, Ohio, sandwiched between swanky fund-raisers in New York and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles event, which ended at 11 p.m. Thursday, was an A-list concert with artists such as Crystal, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck.
Kerry two hours later left on a four-hour redeye flight to Ohio, where he stumped in a bellwether community that chose Republican George W. Bush four years ago.
Kerry then swung by the Pro Football Hall of Fame before he boarded his plane for the third time in 24 hours, this time to New York for a fund-raiser with lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual supporters.
Less than three hours later, he boarded the plane for a flight to his Washington home and an end to his day-and-a-half tour.
A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Ralph Nader yesterday, saying the independent presidential candidate is violating federal campaign laws by accepting office space and telephone service from Citizen Works, a public charity he created.
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