Doug Whitley, the CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, is abandoning his campaign for governor.
In a statement posted on his campaign web site, Whitley wrote that "a reality check was necessary" before deciding whether to continue seeking the Republican nomination. Ultimately, he concluded, it would have been too hard to raise the necessary cash in the current economy to stay competitive, a point he reiterated to Crain's Greg Hinz:
"I think I was connecting pretty well," he said. "But it would have been difficult for at least several more months."
Whitley is exiting the GOP field just as another candidate appears to be entering. Cicero town spokesman and political commentator Dan Proft has formed a "Proft for Governor" committee, according to a filing with the state Board of Elections noted by Illinois Review and Capitol Fax.
Watch Proft speak at a February Tea Party protest in Chicago:
State Sen. Bill Brady is also seeking the Republican nomination. Gov. Pat Quinn said this week that he "sees no reason" not to run in 2010 and has raised nearly $250,000 for his bid. He'll face a stiff challenge in the Democratic primary if Attorney General Lisa Madigan decides to enter the race.