Jim Ryan’s campaign under new management

By Gus Bode

Ryan’s gubernatorial campaign received a facelift and new managers are working out well

White, male politician seeking campaign manager with fresh ideas and experience.

Carter Hendren answered the Illinois attorney general’s query July 18 and the campaign has been going smoothly since, according to Dan Curry, spokesman for Jim Ryan.


“Carter has a reputation as one of the best campaign managers in the country,” Curry said. “He’s considered one of the best in the business.”

When campaign manager Steve Culliton was promoted to senior advisor for Ryan, the position of campaign manager was open and Hendren came aboard the Ryan campaign. Hendren worked as campaign manager for Jim Edgar’s successful bid for governor in 1990.

Mike Lawrence, associate director of the SIUC Public Policy Institute, worked closely with Hendren when Lawrence served as Jim Edgar’s press secretary.

“In my opinion, Hendren is the best political operative in the state of Illinois,” Lawrence said. “He did an outstanding job of running Edgar’s campaign.”

Glenn Hondas is filling the position as deputy campaign manager and has a good reputation as well, according to Curry. Hondas worked previously on Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood’s gubernatorial campaign for the primary nomination in March.

Jennifer Jerit, a professor in the Political Science Department at SIUC, said it’s hard to say if changing management mid-campaign will negatively affect the election.

“It’s not that typical, but it certainly happens,” Jerit said. “Candidates can do that if the campaign isn’t going well, particularly if a candidate is behind.”


Lawrence said joining the race this late in the game might prove difficult for Hendren, as he joined Edgar’s race one year before the election.

“It will be more difficult for Carter to come into a campaign just a few months before the election than if he had been there in the winter,” Lawrence said.

Campaign management change could also be a good thing, according to Jerit.

“It could re-invent his campaign. It could have a positive affect,” Jerit said. “It could make Ryan’s base stronger or help sway undecided voters.”

Hendren was asked to come aboard the campaign trail earlier in the election and refused, according to Curry, but he was glad to sign on after the primary.

“It’s a mid-course adjustment; actually it’s a mid-course enhancement,” Curry said. “It’s not unusual for campaigns to re-tool. It’s added a new dimension to the campaign and a new energy.”

Reporter Arin Thompson can be reached at [email protected].