A Daley who doesn’t want to run for office? We have to admit that this comes as a shocker even to those outside of Illinois. Former White House chief of staff and brother and son to two of Chicago’s mayors, Bill Daley spent the last six weeks charging hard at fellow Democrat Pat Quinn in order to unseat the incumbent in next year’s primary, but yesterday suddenly declared himself uninterested in running for office or running the state:
Bill Daley abruptly ended his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor today, telling the Tribune that a lifetime in politics had not prepared him for the “enormity” of his first run for office and the challenge of leading the state through difficult times.
Daley, a member of two White House administrations, a presidential campaign manager and the son and brother of two former Chicago mayors, dropped out of the race less than four months after declaring his political resume gave him the best credentials to replace Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
“One of the things I always thought in my career that I wanted to do, I thought I would be able to have that opportunity, I hoped, would be to run for office. And even though you’re around it for a long time, you really don’t get a sense of the enormity of it until you get into it,” Daley told the Tribune.
“But 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?” he said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t the best thing for me.”
Daley made it clear that his decision had nothing to do with a newfound respect for incumbent Governor Quinn:
Daley said he still believed Quinn was a weak candidate who would lose the November 2014 general election to a Republican.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Pat Quinn will not be the next governor of Illinois,” Daley said. “This governor is not that strong that somebody should fear running against him.”
While the anti-endorsement won’t be terribly helpful to Quinn, Daley’s departure undoubtedly will be. Daley had the money and the organization to force Quinn to spend a lot of money and effort in the primary, leaving him weaker in the general election. Daley had already raised $1.2 million since first organizing a potential run in June, and only got started in earnest at the end of July. Democrats have three months to find another challenger to Quinn, but with Lisa Madigan already aiming at re-election as Attorney General, there may not be another high-profile candidate willing to primary Quinn, especially with Daley out of the race.
Of course, Bill isn’t the only Daley in politics, either. His brother Richard turned 71 this year, after serving six terms as Mayor before retiring to a life of public speaking and lucrative law practice. Could Richard end up pitch-hitting for Bill?