SOUTH LOOP — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday it's "way premature" to make an endorsement in next year's gubernatorial race.
William Daley, former U.S. Commerce Secretary and White House chief of staff and brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, confirmed Tuesday he's formed an exploratory campaign to consider a run against Gov. Pat Quinn.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan acknowledged Tuesday she has a gubernatorial run under consideration as well.
"Bill's a friend," Emanuel said Tuesday at a South Loop news conference, but quickly added, "There's plenty of time for the election season. He hasn't even decided he's running."
Emanuel also has called Bruce Rauner a friend, but dismissed any idea of endorsing the Republican, who's already announced his candidacy.
"I'll obviously support the Democratic nominee," Emanuel said, but added it was "way premature" to say who'll he'll support in the primary. "There's a lot of time for the candidates to explain themselves to the public and to the voters."
He said the most pressing issue is the pension reform talks between Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).
Emanuel said he did not believe next year's election would get in the way of their efforts to find a compromise on pension reform.
"I think facing the voters requires you to focus your mind," Emanuel said. He said he was confident they would find a compromise on the issue.
"You have to know why you're running. You have to know the responsibility that comes with the office," Emanuel said. "My focus right now is on being the mayor of the City of Chicago. I'm focused on my job, that's my responsibility."
Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett suggested in her five-year plan Monday that the school system might need to lift the cap on property tax increases to meet an estimated $1 billion deficit, partly due to required pension payments.
Emanuel repeated Tuesday that the city would need to raise property taxes 150 percent to meet pension payments if no reform is passed.
"We're not there yet," he said of the necessity to raise property taxes.