Embattled Senate hopeful cancels trip

/ Source: The Associated Press

Senate candidate Jack Ryan canceled his Thursday fund-raising trip to Washington amid a Republican backlash over embarrassing allegations in his divorce records, but a spokeswoman denied rumors that he is considering withdrawing from the race.

“We are not reassessing. Jack Ryan is in the race to stay. Jack Ryan will be in the race on November 2,” spokeswoman Kelli Phiel said Thursday.

She said the Republican candidate called off the trip after a fund-raiser with House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois was canceled on Wednesday because Hastert had a conflicting meeting on terrorism.

“We made the determination that Jack’s time today was better spent in Illinois,” Ryan campaign communications director Bill Pascoe said.

Ryan came under fire from some members of his own party after the unsealing of his divorce papers, which include allegations that he insisted that his then-wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, go to sex clubs with him and asked her to perform sex acts with him while others watched. Ryan denied the allegations.

Ryan also had been scheduled to appear Thursday with retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, the Republican Ryan is campaigning to replace, and at another fund-raiser with Sen. George Allen of Virginia, the chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Fitzgerald told The Associated Press in Washington that he talked with Ryan Thursday morning for about 20 minutes and still believes he is the party’s best candidate.

Asked if Ryan was considering withdrawing, Fitzerald said: “I don’t know. I hope he doesn’t.”

If Ryan were persuaded to withdraw, he said, it would “almost for certain” that the Republicans would lose the Senate seat.