Daley mum on 2014 governor run possibility

January 15, 2013 3:11:43 PM PST
Bill Daley, former Mayor Richard M. Daley's brother, is sounding more like a candidate for Illinois governor.

He was asked about a possible run for governor at a charity event Tuesday.

The former U.S. commerce secretary, banking executive and White House chief of staff agreed to appear at the Misericordia breakfast fully aware he'd be asked about possibly running for governor.

"I'm talking to a lot of friends and elected officials and people that are involved in community activities and getting their sense of what is needed and whether or not they think I can add something to the debate," Daley said.

The 64-year-old younger brother of former Chicago Mayor Daley said last month that Illinois had a leadership crisis and that he was considering a challenge to Governor Pat Quinn In next year's Democratic primary.

"I'm no further than I've said publicly," Daley said.

He was invited to the breakfast by President Barack Obama's top political adviser David Axelrod, who recently accepted a professorship at the University of Chicago:

"Bill's been a friend of mine for 35 years. As you mentioned, Pat's been a friend of mine for 35 years. I can't think of a better time to go into academia," Axelrod said.

"I think it's too early to say whether Governor Quinn will or won't be elected. I think it's too early to say whether he'll have a primary challenge," said Rep. Lou Lang, (D) Skokie.

Politicians at the breakfast ? and there were many of them -- had differing opinions on whether Governor Quinn, who has struggled to resolve the state's budget and pension crises, should be challenged.

"There's certainly a referendum that can be had about whether we are better off than we were four years ago or three years ago," said Dan Hinz, (D) 2010 candidate for governor.

Quinn would not discuss the 2014 campaign.

"I think that's much more productive for the people to have a governor who is focused on jobs than one who's focused on politics and the next campaign," he said.

Daley, who has considered running for governor in past primaries, said he has not consulted party leaders or taken trips to test the political waters downstate. He said he has not done fundraising and joked he's just trying to avoid the media.

But he's not doing a very good job of it as long as Daley accepts speaking engagements at high-profile events like the breakfast at Misericordia, where Axelrod's daughter is a resident. The fundraising event at the home for the disabled has evolved into a can't-miss political forum.