Illinois Democrats celebrated as much unity as they could during the county chairmen's breakfast, the prelude to Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. The two men seeking the party's nomination for governor, incumbent Pat Quinn and challenger Bill Daley, mostly kept the gloves on, with their speeches referring to, to make Daley's case, the need for change, and Quinn – without naming names – saying Illinois does not need a “millionaire banker” as governor.
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A harder hit in a copy of Daley's prepared remarks was left out of the speech, but he had no problem repeating it out of the governor's presence: “I don't believe that, if the governor is renominated by the Democratic Party, he will win the general election.” Asked to elaborate, Daley said, “That's not a compliment (to the Republicans in the race). I can tell you all of the flaws of the four people who are running as Republicans, and they have deep ones, and it will not be good for this state, if any one of them, in my opinion, becomes the governor.”
Daley, with reporters after the speech, brushed off the omission, saying he was on a roll with a scripted joke about the White Sox needing to change to win. Quinn relishes the underdog role: “I was given a nine percent chance of winning the general election, and I won,” he says of 2010, adding, “(2010 Republican nominee Bill) Brady is still looking for his gym shoes.”
There was some actual news made at the event – Will County auditor Duffy Blackburn announced he is suspending his campaign for comptroller and is endorsing the other candidate. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. The chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, Mike Madigan, who is also the Speaker of the House, did not attend the event. No reason was given. Republican Day is tomorrow at the Illinois State Fair.