Daley Nixes Illinois Senate Bid

Posted April 24, 2009 at 9:57am

Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley (D) has declined to run for Senate in Illinois in 2010, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Daley’s withdrawal from the race inevitably makes state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias the frontrunner for the Democratic Senate nod next year. Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), who was appointed by then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in December, has not said if he will run for a full term next year, although party insiders believe he is unlikely to do so.

Daley, the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, told the Sun-Times that he decided he did not want to enter public life again.

“I was gung-ho, and hired pollsters and talked to fund-raisers and planned to make an announcement in mid-April,— Daley told the Chicago newspaper. “But I’m getting remarried in June and decided I want to take a new tack in my life. I just don’t want to live a commuter life back and forth from Washington.—

Giannoulias raised $1.1 million through his exploratory committee in the first quarter of the year, while Burris raised $845 and reported $500,000 in debt for legal fees as of March 31.

While Daley’s withdrawal temporarily clears the path for Giannoulias, a couple of other candidates, including Urban League President Cheryle Jackson, have not yet ruled out running.

Even if he wins the Democratic nod, Giannoulias could have a tough battle in the general election next year. Blagojevich’s legal problems — including being indicted on 19 counts of corruption earlier this month — have put what would have otherwise been a safe Democratic seat in danger.

Illinois Republican Rep. Mark Kirk is considering running for Senate, but has not made a final decision. Kirk is a powerhouse fundraiser with a moderate profile in his northern Chicago district, and he could make the race competitive for Republicans in the traditionally Democratic state.