Bill Daley defends $1M donation from Rauner's biggest backer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois' richest man donated $1 million to the campaign of Bill Daley, which has sparked criticism from some of Daley's opponents in the race for Chicago mayor.

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who is known for donating millions to fund technology for Chicago police and millions more for Chicago Park District projects.

"He is a large employer, and someone who has a global company so he has an interests in the future of this city. He doesn't need anything from a mayor. So I'm proud of his contribution," Daley said.

Griffin also donated $20 million to former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, which is why Daley's rivals -- including Paul Vallas, Toni Preckwinkle and Susana Mendoza -- see it as a problem.

"Bill Daley is Bruce Rauner's mayor of Chicago. Bill Daley is a continuation of the past and what Chicago cannot afford in our next mayor," Mendoza said.

"I'm not going to be the mayor of anybody but the people of Chicago," Daley said in response.

Daley, whose father and brother served as mayors of Chicago, also got another boost Wednesday with an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune.

He said the Tribune endorsement surprised him.

"Matter of fact when Jorge Neri, came in, my campaign manager, I said Russians must have hacked the Tribune's website because I was rather surprised by it to be frank with you," Daley said.

Another endorsement surprise is coming Thursday when Willie Wilson will get the official backing of the Cook County Republican Party which the party estimates could mean 20,000 votes for him.

"They can have a marginal impact and if he's close enough to the top, that marginal impact could be decisive," said David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute on Politics.

Axelrod said handicapping the mayor's race is tough right now.

However, he adds: "If you just judge by where the barbs are flying it confirms the notions that right now the front runners would be Preckwinkle and Daley."
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