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Secretary of State Jesse White won’t seek re-election

SPRINGFIELD — Longtime Secretary of State Jesse White, one of the most popular politicians in Illinois, said Thursday he won’t be seeking a sixth term.

Although he’s announced his retirement before, White said this time, “You can take it to the bank. This is it. ”

“This is my last tour of duty,” the 81-year-old told Democrats at the Illinois State Fair.

White said as to whoever replaces him: “I just want them to be committed to the job and . . . the responsibility that goes with it.”

But he said he will stay active with the Democratic Party and keep his Jesse White Tumblers going.

A spokesman for the state’s Democratic Party leader, Michael Madigan, said many in the party “want to change [White’s] mind.”

White was first elected to the job in 1998 and is one of the most popular politicians in the state. In November 2014, White was re-elected for his fifth term, a record for the office. He won by a 2-to-1 margin.

He has also served as a legislator and as the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

In 2010 he announced he wouldn’t seek re-election but then changed his mind.