CHICAGO — —
Some members of both major parties saw him as an easy target in 2014. The state's popular attorney general contemplated a primary challenge but decided to run for re-election after her father — the longtime Democratic party chairman and House speaker — said he wouldn't step down. A state senator who now holds President Barack Obama's former seat also considered a bid but chose not to run.
Daley's about-face now leaves an anti-violence activist who has raised little money and hasn't filed paperwork with state elections officials as the only known Democrat still planning a primary challenge. Four Republicans are vying for their party's nomination.
Quinn's campaign issued a statement late Monday saying they are confident that come Election Day, voters "will recognize the difficult and important work the governor has accomplished on their behalf."
Daley dismissed any notion Tuesday that he couldn't have defeated Quinn. He said he believed he could continue to raise the funds and had the statewide support, including in downstate Illinois where the family name of the son and brother of two longtime Chicago mayors may not play well.
"As a part of a family that has public service in its blood and a family of which I am extremely proud, I've always been motivated as each of them to serve," he told reporters as his voice crackled. "This race was a very doable race for me."
He was less clear about his reasons for dropping out. He only said there was an "enormity" to being a candidate he didn't realize previously and that Illinois needs a strong leader to help solve its monstrous financial problems — including the nation's worst-funded pension system.
"I've lost sleep ... and struggling over the last couple weeks over whether or not what's needed I can provide over a long period," he said. "It's not about a campaign of six months or 14 months. It really is about a minimum of five to nine years to begin to straighten out this state."