Illinois Bicentennial: Jim Edgar’s Decision to Not Run for Governor in 2006

In October 2005 — former Governor Jim Edgar announced he would not run for Governor in 2006 against then Gov Rod Blagojevich. In this one-on-one interview, we spoke with Gov Edgar a few days after his formal announcement, to hear why he decided against running again for governor when polls at the time showed he was ahead of Gov Blagojevich by 18 points.

Jim Edgar served as Illinois Governor for eight years, having won the office in the election of 1990, and then being re-elected in 1994. In 2005, Jim Edgar was working for the University of Illinois’ Institute for Government and Public Affairs. He had remained a popular figure through the term of Gov George Ryan, who subsequently went to jail — and through the governorship of Rod Blagojevich, (who was impeached in January 2009)

Due to his remaining a popular figure in Illinois — frequently referred to as “the last good governor” — he was approached by a number of people around running for governor again in the 2006 election.

As Jim Edgar tells us in this interview, he mulled over the decision seriously over the summer of 2005, while he vacationed in Colorado.  He says he expected he would be convinced to run again.

Here we learn why he ultimately decided NOT to seek election for governor in 2006.  We can only imagine how the history of Illinois over the last 12 years would have changed, had his decision gone the other way