County Clerk Yarbrough won’t run for secretary of state because of husband’s health: ‘He is my rock’
Henderson Yarbrough was diagnosed with prostate cancer and, while it was caught early, the county clerk said running for a statewide position “isn’t something I’m interested in doing while he’s in his therapy.”
Citing her husband’s health and unfinished business in her current position, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough said Tuesday that she will not run for Illinois secretary of state and will instead throw her support behind Ald. Pat Dowell.
“I’m not running [for Secretary of State]. I’m going to run for re-election,” Yarbrough told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I haven’t finished the work I’ve started with in the office.”
Yarbrough said she is also concerned about her husband’s health.
Henderson Yarbrough was diagnosed with prostate cancer and, while it was caught early, the county clerk said running for a statewide position, which would require traveling around Illinois to shore up support, “isn’t something I’m interested in doing while he’s in his therapy.”
“He is my rock,” the county clerk said of her spouse. “There’s nothing I have done in the past 30 years that he hasn’t been by my side for. He’s quiet, soft spoken but he’s got a lot of wisdom — especially as it relates to this rough and tumble business I’m in — and he’s the head of our family. … He’s the center of our world, and I hope he gets through this.”
Yarbrough said she’ll support Dowell, who plans to announce her bid for the office Wednesday.
The Third Ward alderman has had some of the same ideas Yarbrough has had to modernize the office, the county clerk said.
“I like her style — she works hard,” Yarbrough said. “That office is begging for someone who has ideas for innovation, and she has some of those same ideas. I’m excited about her candidacy, frankly.”
In December, Yarbrough told the Sun-Times she was giving a bid for the secretary of state position “great consideration” since Jesse White announced he would not seek reelection to the position he’s held since 1998.
“Everybody wants to be secretary of state,” Yarbrough said at the time.
That’s not much of an exaggeration — among politicians.
It’s one of the most coveted elected offices in Illinois — full of easy publicity, thousands of jobs and the potential to serve as a stepping stone to the governor’s mansion.
Former Illinois treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias is running to lead the office, which produces $2 billion in annual revenue for the state, administering driver’s license and license plates among other services.
Along with Dowell and Giannoulias, state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, is also running for the position. City Clerk Anna Valencia has formed an exploratory committee for a bid, but has not yet held an official campaign kick-off event.