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SPRINGFIELD-- State Sen. Dan Rutherford formally launched his campaign for state treasurer Monday, marking the Republican's second bid for statewide office.

The 54-year-old lawmaker from Chenoa said if elected as a fiscal officer for the state, he would be vocal in his criticism of Democrats, who now control all branches of government.

"The State of Illinois is in a fiscal mess. We have seen one party dominate the legislature, the Governor's office, the City of Chicago and Cook County governments," Rutherford said in a statement.

Rutherford made an unsuccessful bid for Illinois secretary of state in 2006, losing to incumbent Jesse White by a 62 percent to 34 percent margin.

It's not clear whether Rutherford will have a Republican primary opponent. The current officeholder, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is poised to run for the U.S. Senate and no Democrat has formally announced their plans to seek the seat.

Former state Rep. Robin Kelly, who now serves as an aide to Giannoulias, has expressed interest in running for the post as a Democrat.

Rutherford took a whack at Giannoulias, raising questions about the controversial purchase of a vehicle using money from the state's Bright Start college savings fund.

"Let me give you an example of how I will run the office of state treasurer: I will not, nor will anyone from my staff be authorized to use proceeds from a college savings program under my stewardship to buy hybrid SUV vehicles for their use or mine. It is inappropriate," Rutheford noted.

Rutherford has served 10 years in the Illinois House before being elected to the Senate in 2002.

Rutherford, who serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Financial Institutions Committee, plans to use the treasurer's post as a bully pulpit for boosting employment in Illinois.

Echoing his campaign theme from his first run for the Illinois House in 1992, Rutherford said, "As treasurer, my top three priorities will be jobs, jobs and jobs."

Rutherford, who is single, is a vice president at ServiceMaster Corp.


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