CHICAGO — Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley confirmed months-long rumors that he could run for Illinois governor when he announced an exploratory campaign for the position in a video Tuesday.
"Let's face it, we're in big trouble," Daley says in the video on his campaign website, citing the state's failure to resolve an ongoing pension crisis, unemployment, same-sex marriage and an illegal gun problem.
"We need leadership that gets things done, and the people of Illinois can't wait," he said, borrowing the phrase coined in Barack Obama's "We Can't Wait" campaign created while he was chief of staff.
Daley would challenge current Gov. Pat Quinn in a potentially heated Democratic 2014 primary, with rumors also swirling that Attorney General Lisa Madigan could toss her hat in the ring.
Both Madigan and Daley come from longtime political families, and both have the fame and the ability to raise funds that could propel their bids for governor.
Daley, 64, is a son of the late Richard J. Daley, who served as Chicago's mayor for more than two decades. His brothers include former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Cook County Commissioner John P. Daley.
Madigan is the adopted daughter of Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan. She has also had a history of raising big money for her campaigns. From January until April, Madigan had raised more than $800,000 and had about $4.4 million left over in campaign money after expenditures, according to a quarterly report filed with the Illinois Board of Elections.
Madigan has not announced a bid for governor.
Before Daley became Obama's chief of staff in January 2011, he served as U.S. Commerce Secretary in the Clinton administration. He also held leading positions at the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, SBC and in the Midwest offices of JPMorgan Chase, among other companies.
With the announcement, Daley can begin raising money for his campaign, which he says will be one "of action and urgency, because that’s the leadership the people of Illinois deserve."