SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Corinne Wood portrayed herself Monday as a fresh face in Illinois politics, someone who reached one of the state's highest offices without following "normal political routes."
She did not dwell on the fact that her route was being picked for the job of lieutenant governor by George Ryan, the ultimate insider and one of the state's most unpopular politicians.
A day after announcing Sunday that she wants to succeed Ryan as governor, Wood flew around the state to tell voters she is an outsider who wants to usher in a "new era in Illinois politics."
"I serve as lieutenant governor, but I didn't come up through the normal political routes," Wood, 47, said at a Springfield appearance. "I'm not a daughter of any political family; I wasn't a political science major."
Although Wood said she is not worried about being linked to Ryan, she said she would not accept any campaign donations from him.
In another development Monday, John Schmidt, who failed in a 1998 bid to win the Democratic nomination for governor, said he was dropping out of the governor's race. He will run for attorney general instead.
Ryan, who picked Wood as his running mate in 1998 when she was a freshman member of the Illinois House, announced last month he would not seek re-election.