In Democratic-dominated Chicago, the name Daley is filled with controversy over his brother's tenure as mayor, particularly in the African-American community. And among Downstate voters, Daley and Chicago are unpopular political labels, especially among more conservative Democrats who support gun owners' rights.
His decision to drop out came just a day after he vehemently defended his Democratic credentials against repeated populist attacks from Quinn, who portrayed him as a member of a wealthy banker class that had caused the recession.
Daley, a former Chicago-based executive of JPMorgan Chase, said he was offended by Quinn's criticism and planned to go to Springfield on Sunday to seek support for himself or to try to block an anticipated endorsement of the governor by state Democratic officials.
Though Daley's father, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, controlled Democratic slating and the fate of state and local candidates, Bill Daley decried such endorsements as outmoded and a political relic — echoing the comments Quinn made in early years as a political outsider.
But symbolizing what had become a campaign of role reversal, Quinn embraced the slating process and was backed by the Cook County Democratic organization over Daley, who was a no-show.
Daley said the weight of his six-week struggle over whether to continue his candidacy fell heavily last week during a news conference when a reporter reminded him of a Quinn comment that the governor “was put on Earth” to solve the state's pension dilemma. At the time, Daley said he hoped that he was on Earth for more than just solving the pension mess.
But in an interview at his Loop office Monday, Daley said the moment left him to ponder, “is that really what I'm put on Earth for?”
Daley said he plans to return to the private sector, but will “stay involved and engaged” in the governing process — though vowing never to seek public office.
“Life goes on,” he said. “Tomorrow we've all got to pay our bills and, hopefully, we put our feet down on the floor and get up and life goes on — and life will go on not only for me, but for everybody else in this state.”