Bill Daley says he’s dropping out of the race for Illinois governor after doing some ”soul searching.”
Daley has worked on presidential campaigns, as White House chief of staff, U.S. Commerce Secretary, and served on several boards.
But in a 20-minute news conference with reporters Tuesday at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago, Daley said all that experience did not prepare him for running for Illinois governor.
“Until you get in this as a candidate, you don’t understand the enormity of not only the campaign and how different it is,” Daley said. “It’s one thing to be, quite frankly, in the gallery and it’s another thing to be on the dance floor.”
The Democrat got a little choked up when talking about continuing his family’s name in elected office.
Daley said his decision to end his campaign had nothing to do with potentially losing to incumbent Pat Quinn, but more about what would be in store for him campaigning and governing, given the size of Illinois’ budget problems. He also said he didn’t mind most attacks Quinn had thrown in Daley’s direction, except for one in which Quinn had questioned Daley’s loyalty to the Democratic Party.
“What I didn’t like was an attack on my Democratic values,” he said. “That’s different. Yes, I’ve been successful and I have no apology for that whatsoever. Ok? And yes bankers made mistakes and blah, blah, blah, and politicians make mistakes, but a criticism of me for not being a Democrat was very offensive to me.”
Despite his insistence that he’s a good Democrat, Daley wouldn’t say that he plans to support Quinn in next year’s election.
Former Ceasefire director Tio Hardiman could still challenge Quinn in the primary.
Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.