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*** COMMENTS OPENED *** Quinn taps de Blasio aide as chief strategist

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* Bill de Blasio’s campaign manager is now Pat Quinn’s chief strategist. Now you know exactly what type of hardcore populist campaign Quinn wants to run. From a press release…

Governor Pat Quinn today tapped Bill Hyers to serve as chief strategist for his 2014 re-election campaign. Hyers, an Illinois native, is one of the country’s leading campaign strategists, having managed Pennsylvania for President Obama’s campaign for re-election in 2012 and serving as Midwest Director for Obama in 2008.

“Bill Hyers knows how to compete and he will be a strong force for our campaign,” Governor Quinn said. “With his help and the help of people across Illinois, we’re going to run a strong grassroots campaign and continue to move Illinois forward.”

“I’m proud to go to work for one of the nation’s leading reform governors,” Hyers said. “I’ve long admired Governor Quinn’s leadership. After inheriting a huge mess from two corrupt governors in a row, he’s been turning the state around and getting big things done to improve life for working families. It is critical that we re-elect Governor Quinn in Illinois so he can finish what he started.”

Hyers, one of the most highly-sought after campaign leaders in the country, recently managed Bill de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor of New York City. He also led Gov. Steve Beshear’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Kentucky, Mayor Michael Nutter’s successful campaign in Philadelphia and Kirsten Gillibrand’s first race for Congress in 2006. In addition, Hyers managed the president’s campaign in Pennsylvania in his 2012 bid for re-election and was Midwest Regional Director for his 2008 campaign.

An Illinois native, Hyers was born in Kewanee. He graduated from Harrisburg High School and attended graduate school at Illinois State University after completing his undergraduate degree at St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

* Lynn Sweet

Gov. Pat Quinn hired the man who managed New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s come-from-behind, populist everyday people campaign to be the chief strategist of his re-election bid. Quinn told me he views his 2014 run as a “battle for the soul of Illinois.” […]

Quinn, who buys his suits at Men’s Wearhouse on State Street, told me his campaign will be steered by Bill Hyers, who won rave reviews for taking de Blasio’s longshot bid to victory in a big-city contest with intense media scrutiny — a nice practice run for Illinois.

Hyers “brings a good sense of modern campaigns,” Quinn told me. “We are going to be very aggressive with social media, and we’ll have a very strong regular media campaign and it fits in with our grass-roots efforts.” […]

Joe Slade White and Ben Nuckels are again making Quinn’s spots. Four years ago, they made ads savaging then-GOP nominee Bill Brady for being so wealthy that he was out of touch with average Illinoisans.

By comparison, Bruce Rauner hired his top guy almost eleven months ago.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Soccermom - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    “By comparison, Bruce Rauner hired his top guy almost eleven months ago.”

    Rauner has a primary fight. Quinn doesn’t. Apples and oranges.

  2. - Walker - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    Hope he’s as good as they say.

    He (Bill) did win primarily due to an opponent’s personal failures and meltdown.

    Ok, that works in Illinois.


  3. - Try-4-Truth - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Right, and no one knew who Bruce was. This happened at the right time in my opinion.

  4. - Empty Chair - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Top tier hire.

  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    Time, people, money and information.

    The only one you can never get more of in a campaign is time.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    It looks like Quinn’s new chief campaign strategist has an impressive record. The Quinn campaign and unions will need to have their “A” game to win the upcoming election.

  7. - Jorge - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    This should provide a solid sneak peak of how the general will play out. Populism vs. exceptional individualism.

  8. - A Naughty Moose - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    What is the story behind his curious hiring by and sudden disappearance from the Charlie Crist campaign in Florida a few months ago?

  9. - Soccermom - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    YDD — I agree with you and that great campaign strategist Ernest Hemingway, who once said: “Time is the thing we have least of.” But in this case, the Governor is likely facing a general election opponent with virtually unlimited resources. So it makes sense to hold off on writing those big check as long as is reasonably possible. Seems pretty timely to me.

  10. - Walker - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    BTW. Paul Vallas was in full campaign mode at the Botterman Breakfast yesterday. Had clear talking points. He’s about ready to jump in full time, it seems.

  11. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    Nice to see this strategist has Illinois roots.

    The google mentions he was originally signed up with Charlie Crist this cycle though and the split may have been messy.

  12. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    How was De Blasio a come from behind long shot, Lynn Sweet? He had the endorsement and support of former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Clinton.

    I will grant that I did not follow the New York mayoral race on a daily basis, but from what I read De Blasio was always close to the lead in a confused field of opponents. Who was his chief rival? Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner?

  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    Better get cracking ASAP. Rauner is a full court, money raising, defining mode and is not going to stop for a millisecond.

    March 19 is not a Wednesday, it is Day 1, money-wise, message-wise, and framing of the race as “Bruce Rauner” wants, and what Bruce Rauner is going to try to redefine about himself, all over again.

    Better start now… yesterday…

  14. - LincolnLounger - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    @Upon Further Review: City Council President Christine Quinn was Bloomberg’s choice to replace him and was leading in the polls for a very long time.

  15. - Anon - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Big-time hire.

    Crist fired him when Hyers didn’t get along with Crist’s wife.

    Seems like a Quinn guy–tight with money. Waits to spend money running ads until late. Furnished one office with free Craigslist finds.

  16. - Rahm'sMiddleFinger - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    Plenty of stories on this guy. Looks like a very solid hire.

    It’s been reported that he didn’t get along w/ Christ’s 40 yr old wife.

    Big question in my mind is this going to be his only race? Or will be the “General Strategist” for a number of races. If he’s got more than one race on his plate “general strategy” advice isn’t very useful.

  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    –He (Bill) did win primarily due to an opponent’s personal failures and meltdown.–

    Are you referring to Carlos Danger? He made some noise when he first got in, but he was never a major factor.

    Christine Quinn had the endorsements of all the papers, plus Bloomberg working behind the scenes for her. Bill Thompson, the city comptroller, was considered her main competition.

    The De Blasio win was a surprise, to the New York chattering classes.

    UPR, the Clintons endorsed De Blasio after the primary, as they would have any Democrat.

  18. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    @ANaughtyMoose: The NY Daily News alleged Hyers and Mrs. Crist did not get along. Not an issue for Quinn I suppose.

    @UponFurtherReview: I agree it was kind of mystifying how people treated de Blasio like he came out of nowhere yet he was campaign manager for Hillary’s first senate run.

  19. - VanillaMan - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    Well, since he can’t run on his accomplishments he needs a guy who knows how to get unaccomplished people elected - and this guy has quite the record. Look at that list! Not a single winner capable of doing the job he got them elected to do!


  20. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    I heard that Quinn is going to try to flip GOP voters with a new tactic. “Many of our elderly voters vote a certain way because they’re grumpy,” Quinn said. “The reason they’re angry is because they’re not feeling well. I’m going to visit them and cheer them up with back rubs, and I’m going to sit with them and listen to their stories about their ailments,” he added.

  21. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    Ouch. That split with Crist occurred in less than one month, basically before he even really got started.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:28 am:



    “Dear Bill de Blasio,

    First, welcome home. It is always great to see top tier talent come back to Illinois and apply their trade. Being from the “Hog Capitol of the World” you know the difference between the smell of ‘money’ and …well… you know.

    There are 4 possible candidates running; Pat Quinn, ‘Glorious Leader’ Pat Quinn, ‘Bruce Rauner’ and finally Bruce Rauner. Get a program, the players swap in on their own without warning.

    If you look at you past victories, “Bruce Rauner” seems garden variety. Do not…do not be fooled as the ‘3′ were fooled in the GOP primary. ‘Rauner’ will raise loads of cash every week, and then Rauner will drop $500K to make sure you ‘know’, well, he can. Understand, while knowing you will be outspent, running a campaign thinking both Rauners are garden variety will lead to a hole you will never recover.

    Assets? No one…no one can ‘out-Pat Quinn’… Pat Quinn. No one especially “Bruce Rauner’, saddled with Bruce Rauner and…Jim Oberweis. The Oberweis/Rauner connection, and running ‘Glorious Leader’ Quinn as the populist will lead to success. Factor that with a Ground Game, Unions, education on both Rauners, and the ‘marriage’ of ‘Rauner’ to SSM opponent and Slytherin Jim Oberweis, you got a good start to take on ‘Rauner’, Rauner, the idea Illinois is Wisconsin or Indiana.

    That is a ’start’, good luck. Do not let Illinois get the faux Republican version of Blago in Bruce Rauner, by helping ‘Bruce Rauner’ fake his way through. Education, intensity, starting early and often, and GOTV and Ground Game are critical. Know how you win before, ignore the similarities, and exploit the differences.

    And… tell Gov. Quinn, for me… Lil less ‘Glorious Leader’ lot more governor.

    Welcome back.

    You’re Pal,

    Oswego Willy”

  23. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    ===since he can’t run on his accomplishments===

    More knee-jerk drive-by nonsense from the usual suspect.

    Let’s see, off the top of my head, we have abolition of the death penalty, marriage equality, pension reform, a capital bill, yep, no accomplishments at all. Nada. Zilch. Zip.

    Try taking off the blinders sometime VM.

  24. - North Shore Joe - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    So wait, let me get this straight. PQ hires the guy that lost to Scott Walker in 2010?

  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    - North Shore Joe -,

    Illinois is not Wisconsin. Not even close.

  26. - North Shore Joe - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    About to look an awful lot like Wisconsin Willy.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    How so?

    Wisconsin magically will become the 5th largest state?

    Wisconsin will magically get the 3rd largest city in America?

    Taxes the same? Constitution the same, the same General Assemblies…same? Not even close.


  28. - North Shore Joe - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    A marauding, union busting, megalomaniac running a super aggressive gubernatorial campaign with a ton of money and a lot of momentum behind it. That’s how.

    If anything your comment just proves my point–If you thought Wisconsin was a battle ground in 2012 just wait ’til this powder keg explodes.

    Hyers had a shot at stoppin’ somethin’ pretty similar before and he failed.

    Just a thought.

  29. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    ===A marauding, union busting, megalomaniac running a super aggressive gubernatorial campaign with a ton of money and a lot of momentum behind it. That’s how.===

    This is a Primary, not a General Election, please learn your bases and elections for both. The demographics of the General Election with Rauner/Quinn are not those of a Wisconsin.

    ===If anything your comment just proves my point–If you thought Wisconsin was a battle ground in 2012 just wait ’til this powder keg explodes.===

    Unions, Urban areas, Ground Game, GOTV… Not going to mirror the type that was successful or failed in Wisconsin, simply because the voting demographics dictate they bd different. Can’t wish away how a state is or is not like another.

    ===Hyers had a shot at stoppin’ somethin’ pretty similar before and he failed.===

    This is why you fail to learn. Nothing is the same here and Wisconsin.

  30. - countyline - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    -Let’s see, off the top of my head, we have abolition of the death penalty, marriage equality, pension reform, a capital bill, yep, no accomplishments at all. Nada. Zilch. Zip.-

    Not everyone considers those accomplishments, 47th…

  31. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Thanks countyline, but you’re not dense enough to believe Quinn hasn’t accomplished anything. You might not agree that his accomplishments are good things, but you can’t argue that he hasn’t signed some landmark legislation during his term.

    Unless, like VM, your partisan blinders are glued on tight.

  32. - North Shore Joe - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    I’ve heard this “Illinois isn’t Wisconsin” line over and over again from those that are gearing up. I get it. Obviously there are some huge differences, never said there weren’t. But also some glaring similarities, DONTCHA THINK?

    Willy, what would you put the odds of a Rauner victory in November at then? % wise.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    Rauner is over 40% to win. If Rauner tries to out-populist Pat Quinn, and Rauner gets saddled with Oberweis Slythertn social issues and the GOTV pulls for Quinn as they pulled AGAINST Bill Brady… today… Rauner has a 40% shot.

  34. - Archiesmom - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    I think this is a great hire for the kind of campaign that Quinn will need to run to win. In addition, I’m already hearing through some of the progressive grapevine that this is resonating with the folks Quinn will need to energize to win. Those are the people, countyline, that Quinn will have behind him and will work for him based on those accomplishments (and ho have been rightfully dispirited by some of Quinn’s other , um, shortcomings). I’m really looking forward to watching the show.

    And Willy, spot on on all fronts.

  35. - Try-4-Truth - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    ====- North Shore Joe - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    I’ve heard this “Illinois isn’t Wisconsin” line over and over again from those that are gearing up. I get it. Obviously there are some huge differences, never said there weren’t. But also some glaring similarities, DONTCHA THINK?

    Willy, what would you put the odds of a Rauner victory in November at then? % wise.====

    Illinois is not Wisconsin. It it was, the people of Wisconsin would not hate us so much.

  36. - ILPundit - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    I’ve been very critical of Quinn’s inept campaign operation in the past.

    This hire is the most remarkable thing I have ever seen from the Quinn organization. They are bringing in a well seasoned, tested, and nationally coveted campaign pro to run the political show. Ask yourself when the last time was that Quinn made a hire this good?

    This is a very promising move, and an indication that — however slowly — Quinn is growing into the job, and is willing to break old habits to win. If you are a Dem, this is very encouraging.

  37. - the unknown poster - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Once he has won the GOP primary, one wonders if Rauner will track more to the center and soften his anti-union stance.

  38. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    “Illinois is not Wisconsin”

    True. We don’t have a governor who surrounded himself with criminals and racists.

    It looks like Scooter’s national aspirations are taking a big hit. Too bad. A lot of money has been invested in him.

  39. - W - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    The difference is that every time Quinn says something populist about “standing for working families” tens of thousands of public employees and their families will grit their teeth and mutter about what a two faced phony he is. Can that work?

  40. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    –Can that work?–

    Where they going to go? Rauner?

  41. - W - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    - Where they going to go? Rauner? -

    Which is why Quinn hopes Rauner is the nominee.

  42. - StreetervilleSnookie - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 5:26 pm:

    From the cheap seats, I wonder how effective he will be. Quinn isn’t known for following others’ advice….

  43. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 6:02 pm:

    –Quinn isn’t known for following others’ advice….–

    No, that’s not true. He always listens to Brother John and Oak Park Mike before he dismisses them and does his own thing.

    The dude’s on a roll. There’s no way the smart money would ever think that he could win a Dem primary then a general election for gov. But he did.

    I doubt very much he’s going to start listening to advice now, lol.

    But I say, salud.

    Over the years, I’ve seen the guy willingly go out to take a beating in a losing cause. Run races, statewide, that he knew he could not win.

    But he humped, anyway. He would have been a hellava a Midwest Irishman in the U.S. Senate, driving those GOP Dravidians crazy. I wish he would have.

    Do it your own way, daddio, You’ve earned it. See you at Winberries, at Ascension and on St. Patty’s in the hood.

    And beat Rauner. Put the wood to him.

  44. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 7:48 pm:

    Solid, progressive, wise and proven choice for Pat Quinn. He pulled off the Upset in 2010, trailing in the Polls against Bill Brady right up until the Polls OPened on Election Day–with some smart, indefatigable, savvy Old-Timers along with FAR-less polished Brass Campaign Staff at the helm.

    THIS time he’s got the money and he’s sagely spending it on the Cream of the Crop–a highly reputable, Top-Shelf Performer like Bill Hyers, who’s obviously proven his worth at the Highest (POTUS) and LOcal (NYC Mayor) Levels–along with those same old, well-experienced Battle-Tested, sage Old-Timer Advisors/Campaigners in the Trenches, he very well may have what it’ll take to pull it off again, this time against BR.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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