updated 7/21/2004 1:37:44 PM ET 2004-07-21T17:37:44

State Sen. Kirk Dillard said Wednesday morning that he still has not decided whether he wants to enter the race for the U.S. Senate, leaving Illinois Republicans dangling again in their drawn-out search for a new candidate.

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“I will decide today and probably announce it tomorrow,” said Dillard. “I will be doing this tomorrow.”

The 19-member Republican State Central Committee, which Dillard serves on, is expected to choose a replacement candidate soon for Jack Ryan. The millionaire former investment banker, who won the GOP primary, said last month he would drop out of the race after embarrassing allegations about his sex life became public.

A series of potential candidates have declined to run, citing the difficulties of starting a campaign less than four months before election day and going up against the well-funded Democratic candidate, state Sen. Barack Obama.

Dillard has said Obama is beatable and has beliefs that are too liberal for Illinois voters, but also has expressed doubts about fund-raising raising and spending too much time away from his family. Besides his state Senate post, he is head of the DuPage County Republican Party.

Ryan has yet to file the papers to officially remove his name from the ballot, though he has repeatedly said he sees no scenario in which he would stay in the race.

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