Bill Daley might want no part of running for governor, but he’s standing by his parting shots at Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, saying it’s his “honest” assessment that the governor won’t win re-election next year.
Speaking to reporters a day after detailing his departure from the March primary contest after less than four months on the trail, Daley emphasized that he didn’t drop out because of a fear of losing as much of a fear of governing a state with massive fiscal problems, including a $100 billion pension debt and high unemployment.
“I cannot commit to what the voters may need,” Daley said in summing up his decision. “I didn’t get into this campaign with any illusions. I’m not a rookie. I knew and I’ve known my whole life how difficult not only politics is, but governing is.”
Again defending his Democratic credentials as the son and brother of two former Chicago mayors, a member of two White House administrations and as campaign manager for a presidential campaign, Daley said his belief about Quinn’s electoral viability was his part of his own blunt style.
“One of my, maybe, failings in life is that I’m awfully honest with you people and because I haven’t had the role of an elected official or a candidate I’ve been pretty blunt. So, forgive me for being honest,” he told reporters at a Loop news conference.
Quinn’s campaign, in a statement Monday, said it respected Daley’s decision to drop out, adding that a “divisive primary would have only helped Republicans who want to take this state backwards and undo the important progress we have made.”
Quinn’s camp did not directly address Daley’s decision not to endorse the governor or his belief that Quinn would lose re-election. “When the time comes for voters to make their decision on Nov. 4 next year, we are confident they will recognize the difficult and important work the governor has accomplished on their behalf,” Quinn’s campaign said.
Speaking about his family’s public record, Daley’s voice caught as he said he was “extremely proud” of a heritage of being “motivated” to serve.
Daley also said there was no other outside reason for getting out of the race beyond his decision that he could not commit to the job of governor. He said he understood there were all kinds of “conspiracy theories” about why he had dropped out, but said they were not accurate.
Asked how he could be so confident that Quinn could not win election to a second term, Daley jokingly said it was because of his “political genius.”
“I’ll be proven either a genius or an idiot” on Election Day, he said.
With Daley’s decision, and no major primary opposition for Quinn, attention on the governor’s race could focus during the next several months on the GOP primary contest, where four candidates are seeking the nomination.
State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who was defeated by Quinn in the 2010 general election, also is expected to formally unveil today his choice of a running mate. Also running are state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who lost the nomination to Brady by 193 votes last time, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa and businessman Bruce Rauner.
Even in departing from the Democratic primary race, Daley said he would not endorse Quinn for re-election.
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.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun