Chicago and Illinois media's spin about a
Daley-Madigan brawl for governor in 2014 is sheer,
abject, absolute nonsense. Next year's Democratic
gubernatorial primary will be Daley-Madigan-Quinn,
not a spat among Chicago's "First
fact, a three-candidate contest between former
U.S. Commerce secretary and mayoral brother Bill
Daley, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan and
Governor Pat Quinn is Quinn's only avenue to
victory -- and Illinois' marginally popular
"Governor Panderer" should not be
2012 Public Policy Polling survey put Quinn's
approval/disapproval numbers at 40/43 percent
among Democrats and a lot lower among the entire
electorate. A January We Ask America poll had
Quinn at 37/42 among Democrats. Quinn is perceived
as an inept leader and a hopeless vacillator. Any
other governor, with that unpopularity, facing
certain 2014 defeat, would be writing his
retirement speech. Not Quinn. Whatever his
shortcomings, which are legion, he is not a
quitter, and he expertly panders to the Democratic
base. A solid 35 to 40 percent of that base, which
includes liberals, blacks, gays, Hispanics, those
dependent on state government and public sector
unions, would be enough to enable Quinn to win a
going to run," one Democratic strategist
said. "Why should he quit? He's the governor.
He has a political base. He has name recognition.
He has a reasonable amount of campaign cash. And
he has incredible luck. He stumbles to victory
because his flawed opponents are easy to
won the 2010 Democratic primary against wooden and
uncharismatic Dan Hynes, then the state
comptroller, 462,049-453,677, a margin of 8,372
votes. He then beat the too-conservative
Republican nominee, Bill Brady,
1,745,219-1,713,385, a margin of 31,834 votes.
Normally, the calculus of political success is
right time, right place, right message. For the
ubiquitous Quinn, a chronic campaigner who over
the past 30 years has run for six offices, lost
four times and won five times, the ticket to
success has been consistent: have the right
opponent. Quinn wins when his opponent is woefully
flawed and incapable of prevailing; otherwise he
loses, as he did to George Ryan in 1994, to Dick
Durbin in 1996 and to Mary Lou Kearns in 1998.
We Ask America poll focused on the 2014 primary,
and it had fascinating results: In a one-on-one
Madigan-Quinn race, Quinn loses 50-25 percent,
with a quarter of the vote undecided. In a
Madigan-Quinn-Daley race, the results were
37-20-15 percent, with 28 percent undecided. In
other words, Daley takes votes away from Madigan,
whittling her down to the one-third threshold. The
anti- or non-Quinn vote is in the realm of 75 to
Madigan takes a pass, Daley, running as the
"Anybody But Quinn" candidate, would
surely win, but if the primary is "Two
Against Quinn," the governor is not
eliminated. There are a lot of red flags. As the
attorney general who has compiled a stellar record
in civil prosecutions and who was re-elected in
2010 with 64.7 percent of the vote, by a
stupendous margin of 1,225,296 votes, Madigan
should be a slam dunk for governor in 2014.
Likewise for Daley, who has credentials up the
proverbial kazoo. However, Madigan's baggage is
her father, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
The perception is that two Madigans having too
much power is too intolerable.
for Daley, the perception is that his candidacy is
too little, too late. Were he running when his big
brother was Chicago mayor, he'd have familial
baggage, but also Chicago clout. Now he's just
another wannabe, a defrocked nobleman whose time
has passed, who barely registers a sixth of the
all three of them run, it will be like the
infamous Byrne-Daley-Washington Democratic mayoral
primary in 1983 which led to Harold Washington's
36.3 percent triumph and to Rich Daley being
condemned as a spoiler. Bill Daley could be 2014's
2014 election will be a "battle of the
bases" -- geographic, ideological, racial and
gender. The overriding issue, given Illinois' dire
fiscal straits, will be competency and delivery.
All three contenders are Chicagoans. Quinn will
position himself as the populist "real
Democrat," Madigan will campaign as the
"most electable" Democrat, and Daley
will pose as the "most competent"
Democrat. Platitudes and imagery will be
despite his "Governor Jell-O"
reputation, will be the implacable status quo,
no-cuts, raise-taxes, spend-and-borrow-more
candidate. Quinn's solution to the state's crisis
situation is to ignore it. The $96 billion in
unfunded pensions? Later. The $5 billion in unpaid
vendors? Borrow more. If that doesn't suffice,
raise taxes on the rich and on corporations.
Quinn's for gay marriage, for driver's licenses
for illegal aliens, and for maintaining, if not
increasing, state spending for social services,
because they're all "essential." As for
state workers affiliated with the American
Federation of State, County & Municipal
Employees and the Service Employees International
Union, there will be no right to work, no pension
cuts and no work rule changes.
got to where she is because of her surname and her
DNA, but she has remained there because of her
competence, not "Big Daddy." Like
Hillary Clinton, Madigan would have enormous
gender appeal, and she would run especially well
among women in upscale suburban areas and along
the Lakefront. Women cast a majority of the
Democratic primary vote, but almost 60 percent of
those women are black or Hispanic. Madigan has no
especial appeal to minorities, and "Big
Daddy" has virtually none.
of her office, but more likely because of her
father, Lisa Madigan has $3.3 million in her
campaign account, and she can easily raise the $5
million to $7 million more she needs to run a
savvy media campaign for governor.
2002, in her only contested statewide primary,
Madigan beat John Schmidt, the 1998 gubernatorial
candidate, a onetime Daley chief of staff and a
former associate U.S. attorney general,
698,250-501,190, getting 64 percent of the vote
and winning by a margin of 197,060. She won Cook
County by 134,182 votes, due to the muscle of her
father, the Daley machine and the predominantly
black wards. Next year she will stand on her
the youngest of the Baby Boomer "Daley
Clan" brothers, is a veritable
"Paladin" -- Have brains, will travel.
He's been a lawyer, an investment banker, a U.S.
cabinet official and the White House chief of
staff. He is brainy but soft-spoken,
nonideological and charisma-free. He engenders
neither passion nor animosity. Anywhere but
Chicago, Daley would be a Republican. Running as
"Mr. Fix-It," he has appeal to Illinois'
7.5 million registered voters but not to half or
more of the 1.2 million to 2 million Democratic
primary voters, who, like Quinn, want to
perpetuate the current situation, not
"fix" it. For them, a "fix"
means less money in their pocket.
problem: He and Lisa Madigan share the same base
among anti-Quinn, non-black, pragmatically liberal
and Southwest Side Chicago voters, and the Daley
name is no longer magic.
he has a strategic quandary: Whom to attack? If he
goes negative on Quinn, ripping his incompetence,
he drives down Quinn's support but does not
necessarily corral votes from Madigan. If he goes
negative on Madigan, pounding on the idea that
Illinois does not need two Governors Madigan, he
splits the anti-Quinn vote but shaves none from
2014 governor's race is a win-lose situation for
Quinn, a win-lose situation for Madigan, and a
lose-lose situation for Daley. Quinn has nothing
to lose except his job. Madigan has everything to
lose, especially her job, and if she wins, she
(and Mike Madigan) will have to raise taxes,
risking his House majority. Daley surely
understands that, in the remote event that he is
nominated, he will not be elected.
2010 primary is a template for 2014. Against
Hynes, a Lakefront resident whose powerful father,
Tom Hynes, was a longtime Daley ally and the Far
Southwest Side 19th Ward boss, Quinn ran his usual
dysfunctional, disorganized, underfunded campaign,
but he won 42 of 50 city wards, 165,283-154,277,
in a turnout of 339,560. Quinn won 10 Northwest
Side wards 35,719-33,759, six North Lakefront
wards 23,518-19,059 and 20 black-majority wards
87,959-58,466, even though Hynes ran ads with
footage of Washington calling Quinn, who briefly
was the city revenue director,
"undisciplined" and his "worst
mistake." Black voters remember that Tom
Hynes ran for mayor against Washington in 1987. As
they say, "The sins of the father . . ."
won eight Hispanic-majority wards 15,616-13,575.
In the Southwest Side 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 19th
and 23rd wards, which are trending Hispanic and
where the Daley/Madigan/Burke/Hynes/Lipinski
machine dominates, Quinn lost 22,479-27,081, but
he won the 14th and 23rd wards. Next year the 13th
(Mike Madigan) and 14th (Ed Burke) wards will back
Lisa Madigan and the 11th (John Daley), 19th (Matt
O'Shea) and 23rd (Bill Lipinski) wards will back
Bill Daley, thereby splitting the anti-Quinn vote.
won the Cook County suburbs with majorities in
black townships 138,971-109,898, getting 55.8
percent of the vote. He took Cook County by 40,079
votes, and he narrowly won DuPage, Lake and Kane
counties, but he lost the McHenry County and Will
County and Downstate by 31,707 votes.
does 2014 shake out? In 2010, following Rod
Blagojevich's impeachment, Quinn had a residue of
goodwill. That's dissipated. His governing style
is inconsistent, almost nonexistent. He gets no
respect in the General Assembly. There is Quinn
fatigue, but he's a panderer extraordinaire, and
he has a 25 to 35 percent primary base. If Daley
and Madigan both run, Quinn can win. If only one
runs, Quinn is toast.