CHICAGO — In a surprising announcement Monday, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination for Illinois governor.
Daley, the son and brother of two former Chicago mayors, told the Tribune Monday he had been wrestling with the question of whether he really wanted to spend years tackling the daunting problems facing Illinois.
"Is this really what I want to spend my next five to nine years doing? And is this the best thing for me to do at this stage of my life? I've come to the conclusion that this isn't the best thing for me," Daley said.
Daley, 65, who served as Commerce Secretary under President Bill Clinton and chaired the 2000 presidential campaign for Al Gore, said he did not truly grasp the "enormity" of running for governor before jumping into the race in June.
"One of the things I always thought in my career that I wanted to do, I thought I would be able to have that opportunity, I hoped, would be to run for office," Daley said. "And even though you're around it for a long time, you really don't get a sense of the enormity of it until you get into it."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tuesday cited his ties to Daley in the Clinton and Obama administrations, having preceded Daley as President Barack Obama's chief of staff. "I want to compliment Bill Daley for a lifetime of public service," Emanuel said. "He has a lot to be proud of. And I also want to compliment him on actually being honest with himself.
"You have to be honest with yourself if you're gonna take on the challenge of public life," Emanuel added.