(Chicago) – Insider: For those insiders paying attention, Bill Daley’s exit from the 2014 gubernatorial campaign trail was no surprise.
For weeks, The Illinois Observer’s subscription e-newsletter, The Insider, has been reporting that Daley’s third quarter fundraising had been under-performing.
What began as an initial gush of campaign cash contributions ended up as a trickle.
At 3:26 p.m. on Monday, hours before he withdrew from the race, Daley disclosed what would be his last large contribution, a $5,300 check from Exelon Sr. Executive Vice President William Von Hoene, Jr. With that cash, Daley had raised so far in the second quarter only $379,619 with just two weeks remaining until the quarter ended on September 30, compared to the $796,471 that he hauled in during the second quarter after entering the race.
Daley’s dismal fundraising in the second quarter stood out more dramatically after Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on July 15 that she would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Madigan’s donors – among them cash-heavy unions and other special interest PACS did not flock to Daley. They sat on their checkbooks.
Moreover, after Madigan reported in the second quarter that she had raised $677,931 – after raising $831,190 in the first – Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller and other observers were surprised at the drop off and characterized Madigan’s second quarter fundraising as disappointing.
What would have been the reaction from insiders and the political press to a Daley third quarter fundraising report that might have shown a nearly 50% drop in donations? The reaction would have been summed up in one word: humiliating.
Despite hiring 12 days ago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ex-political operative, Tom Bowen, Daley’s campaign would have been viewed as virtually dead-in-the-water with such a weak campaign finance report.
In his interview with the Chicago Tribune’s political reporter, Rick Pearson, Daley said, essentially, that he lacked “fire in the belly” for his campaign.
It seems donors also lacked “fire in the belly” for Daley, too.
By dropping out now rather than on October 15 when fundraising reports are due, Daley avoided the humiliation of acknowledging his feeble fundraising – from unenthusiastic and too few donors – helped to push him out.
Money often talks and other times it shouts.
(*Note to Political Insiders: The Illinois Observer also offers our exclusive, subscriber-only e-newsletter – The Insider – to, well, Illinois political insiders. Each Tuesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m. The Insider, whose Consulting Editor is Capitol Fax Publisher Rich Miller, arrives in e-mail boxes with the choicest Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago political gossip, insider information, and news tips. For more information and a free, 4-week trial subscription to The Insider, please go here).