CHICAGO – Former Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan (search) said he is not bitter over the way his campaign ended and would consider running for office in the future.
"I really don't feel that I'm through with politics," Ryan, 44, told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview published Friday. "I'm open to the idea."
Ryan, a millionaire investment banker turned teacher who won the GOP Senate primary in March, dropped out of the race last week after a judge opened records from his 1999 divorce from actress Jeri Ryan. In them, Jeri Ryan (search) contended Ryan took her to sex clubs and tried to pressure her to perform sex acts in front of others. He has denied the allegations.
Ryan said he decided not to drag out his decision to leave the race because the media would have focused solely on his personal life.
"I thought it was unfair to the people of Illinois," he said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
When he quit, Ryan lashed out at the media and said it was "truly outrageous" that the Chicago Tribune and Chicago TV station WLS got a California judge to unseal the records, which he said should remain sealed to protect his 9-year-old son.
"This cannot be a good thing for our country, and it cannot be a good thing for American democracy," he told the Sun-Times.
But Ryan added that he is not bitter about what happened and joked about the hits he took as a target of late-night comedians.
"There are lots of things I can chuckle over," he said. "I think with a certain segment of the population, I've become actually more popular."
Ryan said one of his biggest regrets is that his son will eventually discover why he quit the race.
"The low point for me was knowing that my son would someday do an Internet search to know about his dad running for the U.S. Senate," he said. "And he's going to see all the things I tried so hard to keep secret."
Ryan said he also regretted that his personal problems overshadowed the issues of the campaign.
"(I) didn't really have a chance to have our ideas out there, competing with my opponent's ideas," he said.
The Illinois State Central Committee has not named a candidate to replace Ryan to take on Democrat Barack Obama in the November election for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. The race is considered a key chance for Democrats to pick up a seat in the Senate.
GOP spokesman Jason Gerwig said Thursday that the party hopes to have a new candidate by mid-July.
Ron Gidwitz, the former State Board of Education chairman frequently mentioned as a possible choice, said Thursday he's not interested in a spot on the ballot. The 58-year-old heir to the Helene Curtis cosmetics fortune said he wants to stay in Illinois to focus on his public service work promoting education and job growth, and he doesn't want to give up time with his family.