It is almost a certainty that Gov. Pat Quinn will have a challenger in March’s Democratic primary for governor.
What’s not so certain, however, is who that challenger will be.
Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley was in McHenry this week to speak at a business luncheon sponsored by the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. At it, he said he’s still “seriously looking” at running for governor against Quinn in the primary. He said he plans to decide in the next 60 days.
That means we’ll know in 60 days whether Attorney General Lisa Madigan is running for governor because it’s unlikely Madigan and Daley will both challenge Quinn.
Crain’s Chicago Business has reported as much, saying Daley has told associates that he won’t run if Madigan does and that Madigan has told “insiders” she is running.
All three have knocks against them.
Illinois has continued to founder under Quinn’s leadership. Madigan’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, is a strike against her. The Daley name means a lot in Chicago, but is it a trusted name among Democrats outside of Chicago who might be wary of the political machine?
The latest Crain’s/Ipsos Illinois Poll, released earlier this month, indicates Quinn could be in some trouble. Go figure.
According to the poll, Madigan holds a 30 percent to 15 percent lead, with 39 percent identifying themselves as a Democrat or independent voter and undecided. The poll surveyed 618 Illinois adults between April 13 to 17. It has a margin of error of plus-minus 4.5 percent.
Four percent indicated they would vote for an “other” candidate, which is where Daley would enter the equation.
Quinn currently has a little more than $1.5 million in his campaign war chest. He raised more than $500,000 in the first quarter of 2013. Madigan, on the other hand, has more than $4 million raised, including the little more than $800,000 raised during the first quarter of 2013.
The Republican side of the equation has a lot more uncertainty.
One thing we know for sure is that U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock from Peoria won’t be running. He announced Thursday that he will seek a fourth term in Congress instead.
That leaves likely candidates state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, state Sen. Bill Brady, state Sen. Kirk Dillard and Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner.
Of that group, only Dillard has committed to a run. Rauner has been the hot name as of late. His exploratory committee raised more than $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2013. Brady, who lost to Quinn in 2010, and Rutherford are expected to run.
In the same Crain’s/Ipsos poll, Brady and Rutherford pulled in 12 percent of the vote. Rauner was at 6 percent, and Dillard (4 percent) finished behind Schock (5 percent).
The primary is still a little less than 11 months away. But as the weather heats up, so will Illinois’ race for governor. The next 60 days will bring some clarity to the situation.
One thing’s certain right now, even if who is running isn’t: Voters will need to elect a strong leader to get Illinois through this mess.
• Jason Schaumburg is editor of the Northwest Herald. He can’t wait for the Stanley Cup playoffs to start next week. Reach him at 815-459-4122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Schaumy.