Outgoing IL GOP Chair Says Her Term Was Tough

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Judy Baar Topinka says her two-year term as head of the Illinois Republican Party has been a series of challenges marked by political scandals and a lopsided loss in the U.S. Senate race (and Topinka says it was "pure and simple hell" at times.)

Topinka plans to step down as party chairwoman by the end of the year, but during a taping of WBBM's "At Issue" show Friday, she said she wants to keep the title through President Bush's inauguration. She says she's earned the right to go to the event as party chair after two tough years.

Topinka led the party while former Republican Gov. George Ryan was indicted in a racketeering case. Her tenure also saw Republican Jack Ryan pull out of the Senate race amid a sex scandal. His replacement, Alan Keyes, then was trounced by Democrat Barack Obama.