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Kwame Raoul not entering governor’s race

(Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio)

A potential Democratic challenger for Illinois governor has taken himself out of contention.  State Senator Kwame Raoul had been flirting with a run for nearly a month. But he ended that Thursday. IPR’ Brian Mackey has more:

Raoul represents the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. A lawyer, he's been heading up the special committee trying to find a compromise plan to deal with the state's pension problem.

His name has been quietly suggested as a candidate for governor here and there. But things really picked up steam in August. Raoul did nothing to tamp down the speculation, even showing up at a big Democratic meeting in Springfield earlier this month wearing a "Raoul for Illinois" polo shirt. He said he was still deciding.

"I didn't enter this year, I didn't enter this summer, I didn't enter this month, thinking that I was going to be running for governor, or even considering running for governor."

Now Raoul says he's not running. In a statement, he says he'll focus on the pension issue "until the job is done."

The departure means there are only two other candidates in the race — Quinn and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley. The primary election is March 18.