CHICAGO (AP) – Former White House chief of staff William Daley abruptly dropped out of the race for Illinois governor on Monday, saying he wasn’t sure he wanted to devote time to a long, hard campaign followed by 4 years in office.
Spokesman Peter Giangreco confirmed that Daley was ending his bid. The development was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.
The announcement came less than 4 months after Daley had said he would challenge Gov. Pat Quinn for the Democratic nomination next year. Daley had criticized Quinn for his handling of the state’s pension crisis and other issues.
Daley was the only Democrat who had announced plans to challenge Quinn.
It would have been the first run for public office for the son and brother of two of Chicago’s most famous and powerful mayors.
Daley has also served as trusted adviser to two presidents, first as Bill Clinton’s commerce secretary and then as Barack Obama’s chief of staff after Rahm Emanuel left the post to make a successful run to succeed Richard M. Daley as mayor.
Daley would have been just the latest son of the Richard J. Daley, the legendary iron-fisted mayor of Chicago, to run for office, joining his brothers, Richard and John.
Richard M. Daley served as mayor for 22 years, longer than any other mayor in city history, including his father, before retiring in 2011. And John Daley is a longtime member of the county’s board of commissioners.
A successful attorney and businessman, William Daley spent years as a Democratic operative, working both publicly and behind the scenes in city, state and national politics. Co-chairman of the host committee for the 1996 Democratic National Convention, Daley was tapped by Clinton in his first term to push the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement through Congress. After the election, he was named Secretary of Commerce, serving between January 30, 1997 and July 19, 2000.
In the Obama administration, when Daley’s brother decided not to seek a seventh term as mayor of Chicago and Emanuel decided to step down as White House chief of staff and run to succeed him, Obama selected Daley to succeed Emanuel.
He announced his resignation in January 2012, just a year after taking the job.