Governor Pat Quinn today announced that he is tapping Bill Hyers to serve as chief strategist for his 2014 re-election campaign, reported Rich Miller's Capitol Fax. 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.
In a statement, Quinn said that "Bill Hyers knows how to compete and he will be a strong force for our campaign. 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."
In response, Hyers said "I’m proud to go to work for one of the nation’s leading reform governors. 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 has the track record and the kind of track record Quinn is seeking.
There is more good news for Quinn. The Mellman Group is polling for Quinn and Lynn Sweet reports that in a poll taken Jan. 22-26, according to a summary shared with me, Quinn led GOP frontrunner Bruce Rauner 42 percent to 35 percent, with 22 percent undecided. Quinn had a lock on Chicago at 70 percent, was ahead in the Cook County suburbs, 45 percent to 34 percent, with the battleground the collar counties, where Rauner has 40 percent to Quinn’s 43.
In 2010, Pat Quinn was out for the count, twice. Once in the Democratic primary when he was challenged by Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes. Quinn beat back Hynes in a tough primary race.
Then in the general election, Quinn defeated Republican State Sen. Bill Brady by a very narrow margin in an unexpected victory. There is the famous photo of a visibly stunned Brady who could not believe he lost.
Even Nate Silver of the New York Times "FiveThirtyEightblog," had left Quinn for dead. A rare miscall by Silver.
Fast forward to 2014. In the beginning, Quinn had two possible heavyweight opponents: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Obama chief-of-staff Bill Daley. Surely one of those two was going to take down the "mighty Quinn" in the Democratic primary.
But Madigan dropped out, citing her father, very longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as a huge factor in her decision.
Bill Daley fell victim to Quinn too, as he found knocking down the "mighty Quinn" not so easy.
Quinn goes into the Democratic primary with no prominent opponent (a candidate has filed but may be knocked off the ballot before primary election day). Even if that candidate stays on the ballot, it will have "zero" impact on the outcome.
In the 2014 general election, the dream candidate for Quinn will be a millionaire, the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics, Bruce Rauner. That is if Rauner gets by the Republican primary.
The "mighty Quinn" will be difficult, if not impossible for even Rauner to defeat, even with all of his money. Quinn has passed pension reform, something he fought hard to accomplish. The credit agencies have now given Illinois the thumbs up on its reform.
Same-sex marriage passed in Illinois and a couple of years ago Illinois banned the death penalty under Quinn.
Quinn is a popular populist who brought back integrity to the governor's mansion after the Rod Blagojevich debacle. Rauner will be painted as an uncaring millionaire without a soul or a core.
Hyers, one of the most highly-sought after campaign leaders in the country and will be helpful in running a populist campaign, 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.
Rich Miller's Capitol Fax - Quinn taps de Blasio aide as chief strategist
Chicago Sun Times - Lynn Sweet column
Rich Miller's Capitol Fax - Rauner responds *** “Severe corporate greed” - New anti-Rauner ad airs
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