I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided not to run for Comptroller in the 2016 special election.
Many many people put an extraordinary amount of effort into this campaign, and I’m more grateful than you can know. Thank you very, very much.
As you might imagine, this was a very hard decision for me. Let me explain how I arrived at it.
I began the campaign early last spring, convinced that the Comptroller’s office was the best place from which I could advocate for sane, sustainable, progressive fiscal policies and push back against Governor Rauner’s radical anti-worker agenda. I was honored that many of you agreed, and the campaign began to gain steam.
Not too long after, Susana Mendoza, Chicago’s City Clerk, joined the race. Susana and I come from very different political backgrounds, but I consider her a friend. We also have similar positions on many issues, and we have a lot of allies in common. Plenty of those allies supported me, and lots supported her. As time went on, Susana was able to secure the support of many of the most powerful entities in Illinois Democratic politics.
This left me frankly quite uncertain about our chances of success, but one thing was very clear to me: in order to win, I’d need to wage an extraordinarily expensive, very divisive campaign. It was a sure-fire recipe for all sides to squander resources and generate ill will.
As this situation developed, something else was happening. Illinois was locked in an unconscionable budget stalemate with cruel and tragic consequences for many of our citizens. In order to even discuss the budget, Governor Rauner continued to insist on radical policies that would reshape the economic fabric of Illinois, weakening workers precisely at the moment that the middle class is in a uniquely precarious position.
Given all that, it seemed like the last thing the state and the Democratic party needed was an expensive and divisive campaign for Comptroller. This is a moment when we need to be united, and we need to be focused on solving problems and winning the existential battles that the governor has created.
That’s why I’m withdrawing from this race and offering Susana Mendoza my full support in her campaign for Comptroller.
This is not only about dropping out in recognition of our need for unity. It’s also an acknowledgment that what’s happening in Springfield right now is critical for our state’s future. By stepping aside, I can now focus all my attention on what must always be the most important goal: enacting progressive and sustainable public policies, and breaking down the power structures that cause Springfield to work for economic and political elites rather than the people on behalf of whom government is supposed to exist in the first place.
The Comptroller’s race isn’t the place I’m going to do that work, but the work goes on. Thank you for your friendship, your support, and your commitment to this vital project. I’m lucky to count you as a friend, and our democracy is lucky to count you as a citizen.