Arguing he’s already got a “statewide campaign operation” in place, state Rep. Scott Drury on Tuesday said he’s switching gears and running for attorney general instead of governor.
Drury is the first Democrat to announce a campaign for the coveted post. But plenty of others are considering a run.
And one high-level Democrat on Tuesday opted out of the race. A spokeswoman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart confirmed he won’t run for attorney general, citing his family and his role as sheriff: “He has a lot to do for the people of Illinois,” Cara Smith said.
State Rep. Ann Williams also ended speculation that she would jump into the race. The North Side Democrat said she’s running for re-election, not attorney general.
Drury, D-Highwood, made his announcement at a Chicago news conference. He was one of nine candidates vying in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. In announcing his switch, the former federal prosecutor said “the time has come to clean up Illinois.”
Drury announced his gubernatorial bid in June, touting his independence from Democratic Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. Drury was the only state representative to vote “present” to re-nominate the speaker, who is now the longest serving House speaker in the country.
Drury had about $350,000 on hand in his campaign fund at the end of June.
Drury — who was an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago before taking office in 2013 — says he has a “statewide campaign operation in place and volunteers” throughout the state. His campaign argued that gives him a “decisive advantage over anyone entering the race at this late date.”
His campaign said he’d work “outside the channels of the established machine.”
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s announcement on Friday that she wouldn’t seek re-election was a shock to many. Since last week, dozens have thrown their names in the mix, including state Sen. Kwame Raoul, Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz and former mayoral candidate Gery Chico.
Republican Erika Harold, a former Miss America and former Downstate congressional candidate, on Tuesday gained the endorsement of Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs. Harold has the support — but not yet an official endorsement — from Gov. Bruce Rauner. He’s also expected to be a financial backer for Harold, the only Republican in the race.