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Bill Daley forms exploratory committee with eye toward taking on Quinn

Bill Daley February 2011.  |   AP file photo

Bill Daley in February 2011. | AP file photo

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Bill Daley video announces he's running for governor
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Updated: June 11, 2013 9:51AM

Taking aim at the Legislature’s inability to move on key issues, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley will announce Tuesday that he’s eyeing a challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary for governor.

“Today I am announcing that I am forming an exploratory campaign to run for governor of Illinois,” Daley says in an online video released early Tuesday. “The people of Illinois are paying a perilous price for political failure. We need solutions. We need action. We need leadership that gets things done.”

Daley, 64, long thought to be looking at a campaign for governor, announced his plan despite the fact that state Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been raising campaign cash and also is thought to be considering a run for the job.

In his video announcement, Daley places blame for Illinois’ latest woes on the Legislature for failing to pass pension reform and gay marriage and to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines for firearms during the recently adjourned session.

“Our state needed a productive legislative session, but what happened? Pension reform failed again. Marriage equality dies at the last minute. Protecting our kids from illegal guns — another joke,” Daley says.

A bill that would have legalized gay marriage went down in flames without being called for a vote in the Democratic-controlled House, which is run by Lisa Madigan’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

A pension agreement also failed to materialize after Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, a fellow Chicago Democrat, proposed different plans and could not reconcile their differences.

The “political paralysis” when it comes to addressing the state’s major financial issues was one given reason for a downgrade of Illinois’ credit rating by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. last week.

The credit ratings house cut the rating on $27 billion of outstanding general obligation bonds, in addition to lowering by a notch its ratings on about $5 billion in related debt the state has issued.

If Daley survived the Democratic primary next March, he would square off against the Republican nominee. So far, only state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and millionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner have announced their candidacies.

In addition to coming from one of the most storied political families in the U.S., Daley has served as U.S. Commerce secretary under former President Bill Clinton and chaired Al Gore’s 2000 presidential run. Before taking on the chief of staff job for Obama, he was Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase Bank.

“If you agree with me that we can’t wait to fix the pension mess, join this campaign. If you agree with me that we can’t wait for marriage equality, join this campaign. If you agree that we can’t wait to take on the scourge of illegal guns, join this campaign,” Daley said in the video. “This will be a campaign of action and urgency because that’s the leadership the people of Illinois deserve.”

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