Kenyan-born US Senate hopeful, Barrack
Obama, appeared set to take over the Illinois
Senate seat after his main rival, Jack Ryan,
dropped out of the race on Friday night amid a
furor over lurid sex club allegations.
allegations that horrified fellow Republicans and
caused his once-promising candidacy to implode in
four short days have given Obama a clear lead as
Republicans struggled to fetch an
campaign began to crumble on Monday following the
release of embarrassing records from his divorce.
In the records, his ex-wife, Boston Public actress
Jeri Ryan, said her former husband took her to
kinky sex clubs in Paris, New York and New
"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."
disputed the allegations, saying he and his wife went to
one ‘avant-garde’ club in Paris and left because they
felt uncomfortable, lashed out at the media and said it
was "truly outrageous" that the Chicago Tribune got a
judge to unseal the records.
choice will become an instant underdog in the campaign
for the seat of retiring Republican Senator Peter
Fitzgerald, since Obama held a wide lead even before the
"I feel for him
actually," Obama told a Chicago TV station. "What he’s
gone through over the last three days I think is
something you wouldn’t wish on anybody."
state committee must now choose a replacement for Ryan,
who had won in the primaries against seven contenders.
Its task is complicated by the fact that Obama holds a
comfortable lead in the polls and is widely regarded as
a rising Democratic star.
of the Illinois Republican Party, Judy Topinka, said at
a news conference, after Ryan withdrew, that Republicans
would probably take several weeks to settle on a new
this is a bad week for our party and our state," she
As recently as Thursday,
spokesmen for the Ryan campaign still insisted that Ryan
would remain in the race. Ryan had defended himself
saying, "There’s no breaking of any laws. There’s no
breaking of any marriage laws. There’s no breaking of
the Ten Commandments anywhere."