Another one of President Obama's chiefs of staff has entered Illinois politics. The president's former right-hand-man Bill Daley announced that he's exploring a run for governor Tuesday, highlighting the state's need for "urgency" and "action" that he said lacks in current leadership.
Daley, 64, would challenge Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn if he ultimately decides to run.
But Daley didn't specify what circumstances would persuade him to actually run for governor - he's just looking into it at this point. With an exploratory committee, Daley can raise money for a campaign with leeway to not run if he decides against it.
Among the reasons for this announcement, Daley emphasized a litany of failed state legislation - like the assault weapons ban, pension reform and marriage equality, none of which passed - and Illinois' unemployment rate, the second highest in the country.
"Let's face it we're in serious trouble," Daley said. "We can't wait for the legislature to get well on its own, we need a governor who takes the field, takes command and gets things done."
Mr. Obama used this approach when he took executive action under the "We Can't Wait" program, which Daley said Illinois should mimic. This policy, when the president used recess appointments and initiated several legislative changes, was an effort to circumvent congressional inaction while Daley was chief of staff from 2011-2012.
Daley succeeded Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Mr. Obama's chief of staff when Emanuel initiated his mayoral campaign in 2011. Daley, the son of the late Richard J. Daley, who served as Chicago mayor from 1955-1976, has a long political history, though never as an elected official. He ran former Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000 and served as former Bill Clinton's commerce secretary from 1997-2000.
In addition to this government work, Daley has been a lawyer and banker in the private sector.