Here’s a tip for all of you campaign watchers out there with your eye on the 2014 race for Illinois governor: Count Pat Quinn out at your own risk.
The Democratic incumbent has tapped Illinois native Bill Hyers as chief campaign strategist, a move that signals the kind of campaign—and campaign firepower—Quinn expects to bring to the general election in November.
While Hyers may not be a household name among average voters, in political circles he is one of the most sought-after campaign leaders in the country. His resume is impressive: he recently managed Bill de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor of New York City, along with Mayor Michael Nutter’s winning campaign in Philadelphia and Kirsten Gillibrand’s first race for Congress in 2006. As well, he managed Obama’s campaign in Pennsylvania in 2012 served as the Midwest Regional Director for his 2008 campaign.
But it’s the de Blasio campaign that helps make Hyers the hot commodity he is today. Down in the polls early on, de Blasio’s come-from-behind victory while running as explicitly populist dovetails nicely with the way the Quinn campaign likely sees itself at the stage of the Illinois race.
Grabbing Hyers also means Quinn is expecting a tough campaign, and is more than likely going to double down on the populist themes he’s been touting in both the campaign and as governor.
In the coming weeks and months, Quinn also expect to get the help of another heavy hitter: Vice President Joe Biden. During a recent visit to the state, Biden made it clear he was more than happy to come back in the future and campaign for Quinn.
Last Wednesday, Biden was in Granite City, Ill., to tout the administration’s infrastructure achievements, and Quinn talked to him about his campaign. “And he said I’ll come once, twice, three times, whatever you need,” Quinn told [Lynn Sweet].