08/18/2013 04:46 pm ET Updated Aug 19, 2013

Tio Hardiman, Ex-CeaseFire Director, Announces He'll Seek Democratic Nomination For Illinois Governor

Former CeaseFire director Tio Hardiman is the latest candidate to jump into the 2014 running for Illinois Governor.

Having previously promised a "comeback" after the anti-violence organization CeaseFire severed ties with Hardiman earlier this year, the fifty-year-old announced his bid during a Saturday afternoon press conference in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood, according to NBC Chicago.

“I just want to let everybody in Illinois know that I’m dead serious about running for governor,” Hardiman said. “I didn’t make this decision overnight. There’s a lot of good work that I’ve done as a community activist.”

Hardiman -- who occasionally blogs for Huffington Post -- praised both Democratic challengers, Bill Daley and incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, but said "it's time for a change."

"I'm not part of the 'Good Ol' Boy' system," Hardiman said during his press conference (embedded). Hardiman also said he plans to pick a female running mate.

If elected, WGN reports Hardiman's priorities as governor would include ending political corruption, fixing the pension funding crisis, ending what he calls state harassment of legal gun owners and reforming prison for non-violent offenders.

The Sun-Times notes as part of Hardiman's 11-point plan, he would also support a casino in Chicago.

Hardiman's announcement comes just one month after he publicly stated he was "seriously considering" a bid. DNAinfo Chicago reports Hardiman is looking to become the state's first black governor, a feat he feels he can accomplish thanks in part to his community work experience and fundraising prowess.

"I know people with deep pockets and I know how to raise money," Hardiman said. "Mayor Rahm Emanuel is lucky I live in [west suburban] Hillside because if I lived in Chicago I would be running for mayor."

In May, Hardiman was arrested for domestic battery of his wife. Though the charges were later dropped, CeaseFire severed ties with Hardiman after more than a decade.

The Sun-Times reports Hardiman says his wife is “100 percent” behind his gubernatorial ambitions.

Hardiman will make his bid official when files with the Illinois Board of Elections Monday.



Illinois 2014 Race For Governor: Candidates Past, Present And Potential