Mike Ditka for U.S. Senate?
Former Coach Says Run Possible
"I'm not afraid of the battle," says NFL legend Mike Ditka.
CHICAGO (July 13) - Mike Ditka, the cigar-chomping, blunt-speaking former football coach, said on Tuesday increasingly desperate Illinois Republicans may get a chance to put him on the ballot as their U.S. Senate candidate.
"I've got to be firmly convinced in my mind that I really think I can make a difference," before deciding to seek the Republican nomination, the 64-year-old Pro Football Hall of Fame member told a Chicago radio station. "If I'm just going to be another schmuck up there in Washington then it wouldn't be fun for me."
Republican leaders have been rebuffed by a growing list of professional politicians -- including two former governors -- in their search for a candidate.
The nominee chosen in a March primary, Jack Ryan, was driven off the ballot last month after unsealed divorce records claimed he took his wife to sex clubs and asked her for trysts in front of strangers.
Meanwhile Democrat Barack Obama, a state senator, has opened a hefty lead in polls for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. Republicans now control the Senate by a close margin.
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"There is a lot of scrutiny that goes with the job, but I'm not afraid of that. I'm not afraid of the contest. I'm not afraid of the battle," Ditka said in the interview with sports station WSCR.
Separately he told the Chicago Sun-Times: "I am very conservative ... I am very outspoken and a lot of people aren't going to like that, but that's me. So if they don't like me they vote for the other guy."
When Ryan quit the race on June 25, Republican leaders predicted they would have a replacement candidate in about three weeks. Ditka's name was put in play by a handful of Republicans who established a "draft Ditka" Web site last week.
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Ditka, who coached the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl championship in 1986 and later coached the New Orleans Saints, would have to give up his job as a cable TV football commentator should he be named a candidate.
Ditka's wife has been quoted as saying she'd divorce him if he ran -- a prospect Ditka dismissed Tuesday saying, "She'd do anything I wanted to do."
I hope he runs ,
I hope he wins,
And when the time is right he runs for the presidency with Buddy Ryan as his V.P. choice;)
I hate thinking about ditka,ryan or the 86 bears, but anyone who runs for office and is not a career politician would get my vote.