Biss Bows Out Of Comptroller's Race

Nov 23, 2015

The race for Illinois comptroller has narrowed: There will no longer be a Democratic primary.

Credit Illinois General Assembly

State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, confirmed he will not run. That means Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza will have no opposition in the Democratic primary next March.

Candidates can begin filing paperwork today to run for state office. They have until the end of the month.

But Biss says he won't turn in his petitions at all.

"The stars haven't aligned, and the state of Illinois and the Democratic Party are in difficult times. And I think the last thing we need was a drawn-out, expensive, divisive primary,” Biss said.

"I thought very hard about what my chances were, and came to the conclusion the best thing I could do to advance the cause that I believe in would be to step back at this time."

Biss says now he'll redouble his efforts to get Illinois out of its fiscal situation. He says having no budget is "immoral and wrong."

Biss, who is a mathematician, says he's pledging his support to Mendoza, who is a former state representative.

Though various party leaders backed Biss, Mendoza is the favored candidate of Democratic Party of Illinois Chairman Michael Madigan. The Republicans nominee is likely to be Leslie Munger, who has held the office since January when the governor appointed her comptroller.

The comptroller writes checks for the state. The issue of what checks can be paid, and in what order they go out, has become more controversial as Illinois nears the end of its fifth month without a budget.

Illinois wasn't scheduled to hold an election for comptroller until 2018, but Judy Baar Topinka died before she was sworn in for a new term. That led to a law establishing a special election.

Biss leaves the race with about $1.6 million dollars in his campaign account.

Politico reported on Biss's change of heart Friday, citing Democratic insiders.