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GOP Angry at Senate Candidate's Disclosure

June 24, 2004|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Top members of Senate candidate Jack Ryan's own party are questioning his honesty after the unsealing of embarrassing divorce papers, a controversy that some analysts say could sink his campaign.

Republican National Committee member Mary Jo Arndt said Ryan misled her about the contents of the divorce records, which included allegations that he insisted that his then-wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, go to sex clubs with him. Ryan denied the allegations.

The records were released this week after a judge ordered the documents unsealed. Ryan and his ex-wife both fought the release, saying it would be harmful to their 9-year-old son.

"I feel he betrayed all of us by implying there was nothing detrimental in the sealed records," Arndt said.

"I don't think he was protecting his son; I think he was protecting his political aspirations."

Ryan insisted Tuesday that he was staying in the race and expected to overcome the negative publicity. In the divorce papers, he denied his wife's allegations and said he had been "faithful and loyal" to her.

Other Republicans who once supported Ryan have distanced themselves from him, including former Gov. Jim Edgar, whose aide said Edgar wasn't given a full description of what was in the divorce files before they became public.

Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) called on Ryan to quit the campaign.

Political consultant Fred LeBed noted that polls already showed Ryan's opponent in the general election, Democrat Barack Obama, holding a wide lead over Ryan.

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