Bill Daley, former Chief of Staff to President Obama and a Chicago political powerhouse whose father and brother were two of the city’s most powerful mayors ever, was expected to give Illinois Governor Pat Quinn a big run for his money in the upcoming Democrat primary.
However, Daley has unexpectedly ended his bid to be the next governor in the Land of Lincoln, saying the decision to quit “is something that has brewing inside” of him for the last several weeks.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Daley reminded Rick Pearson of a recent press conference when a comment was made about “someone’s [Pat Quinn’s] belief that they were put on Earth, to solve a certain problem in government,” which caused Daley to ask himself, “is that really what I was put on earth for?”
The answer for Daley, who has been an outspoken and harsh critic of Governor Quinn, was no.
Daley recently turned 65 years old and said he is in good health, but being in the race for the past two months has been difficult for him personally and caused him to question whether or not to stay in the race.
The last six weeks or so have been really tough on me, struggling with this. Is this really me? Is this really what I want to spend my next five to nine years doing? And is this the best thing for me to do at this stage of my life?
Daley’s sudden announcement is already raising many questions about why he would drop out, especially after his impressive fundraising thus far in the election. Daley had raised over $1.2 million, in mostly large contributions between $1,000 and $5,300 from Democrat power players such as former Vice President Al Gore, James Carville, and America’s nanny, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, was seen as a significant threat to the sitting Democrat Governor Quinn. However, Madigan announced she would not run after Daley entered the race, leaving a two-way battle between him and Quinn.
There are four major candidates in the Republican primary: Bill Brady, the 2010 GOP nominee, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, State Senator Kirk Dillard, and billionaire businessman Bruce Rauner.
Rauner, who is running as a Republican, also happens to be a close personal friend of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He has been on an advertising spree since announcing his candidacy earlier this year, which has scored him major name recognition around the state.
Many have speculated Rauner is really Rahm’s choice for Illinois Governor, which will likely raise even more questions about Daley’s strategy to enter and suddenly exit this race.
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