SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is no longer running unopposed for reelection next year.
On Monday, Republican Steve Kim announced he is running against the two-term Democratic attorney general in 2010.
Kim, a former adviser to Gov. Jim Edgar, currently works as a legal adviser for small businesses. If elected, Kim said he would shift his focus to protecting and educating businesses against fraud.
In an interview with Legal Newsline on Tuesday, Kim said the attorney general's office needs to more of an advocate for small businesses that fall victim to fraud.
"They really don't have the time to recover any losses because they are too busy working at running a successful business," he said.
"They need to receive certain levels of protections like consumers."
Kim, 39, is the first Asian-American Republican candidate for statewide office in Illinois. In addition to working in the Edgar administration in the 1990s, Kim has held executive positions with the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, AT&T and Time Warner Cable.
He appears to have the backing of the Illinois Republican Party, at least judging by his list of supporters.
Among his supporters are Republicans U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont and Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady.
"I do have the support of the Republican leadership," Kim said.
Kim made his campaign announcement at the Korean-American Association of Chicago.
DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett dropped out of the AG race in early August, saying it would be "virtually impossible" to unseat Madigan.
In the Nov. 5, 2002, general election Madigan won more than 50 percent of the statewide vote, making the Chicagoan the state's first female attorney general. In 2006, she was handily reelected with 74 percent of the vote against Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart "Stu" Umholtz.
Madigan, who is widely considered a heavyweight in Democratic politics, has said she will seek reelection rather than making a run for U.S. Senate or governor, as some pundits thought she might. Her father is Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.
Kim acknowledged that his race against Madigan is going to be up hill.
"It's going to be a challenge," he said. "She is a formidable opponent but I am here to talk about the issues that I think are important to the people of Illinois."