Weather Updates

Mayor Emanuel: ‘Way premature’ to endorse ‘friend’ Daley — or anyone else

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. | File photo. Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. | File photo. Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 50611267
tmspicid: 8347907
fileheaderid: 2998655

Updated: July 15, 2013 6:29PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday Bill Daley is “a friend,” but it’s way too early to endorse Daley in a contested Democratic primary against incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and, possibly, Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

The mayor straddled the fence hours after Daley made a somewhat timid entry into the 2014 race for governor by releasing a campaign video and forming an exploratory committee that allows him to start raising money.

Daley has a long way to go to catch up with Madigan, who has more than $4 million in bank.

Emanuel and Quinn have had a difficult relationship. The two powerful Democrats have clashed over everything from the mayor’s repeated and still failed push for casino gambling to leadership of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and the mayor’s failed quest for pension relief to ease a $1 billion budget shortfall at the Chicago Public Schools.

Emanuel and Daley have a long history. They worked together in 1989 to get Daley’s brother elected mayor and continued that partnership under former President Bill Clinton. When Emanuel stepped down as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff to run for mayor, Daley replaced him.

But, that doesn’t mean the mayor is ready to climb aboard the Bill Daley for governor bandwagon. Far from it.

“My focus right now is on being the mayor of the city of Chicago and focus on my job. That’s my responsibility. That’s what I’m gonna focus on. There’s plenty of time for an election season. He hasn’t even decided he’s running,” the mayor said of Daley.

Does that mean Emanuel will remain neutral in the contested Democratic primary for governor? Not necessarily.

“I obviously will support the Democratic nominee. [But], there’s a lot of time for the candidates to explain themselves to the public and to the voters. My job is not to explain myself in that sense, but to do what I need to for the ... residents, who actually two years ago voted for me. I’m gonna stay focused on my job,” he said.

“It’s way premature between now and the primary for me to even be talking about what I’m gonna do, what I’m not gonna do. They have to decide what they’re gonna do. They have to explain themselves to the public — how they’re gonna fix some of the challenges. ... I’m not gonna take my eye off the ball. ... The voters [will] listen to what the candidates have to say and they’ll be making their decision.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.