U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's decision to bow out of the Illinois gubernatorial race was a close call, according to his staffers. At age 31, Schock, an aggressive, successful fund-raiser is on track to achieve seniority on the powerful U.S. Ways & Means Committee.
Those close to him say Schock has some powerful ties for someone just in his third term. That includes having "the ear of the Speaker." U.S. House Speaker John Boehner visited Peoria for a Schock fundraiser in 2011. So there's considerable potential for him to amass more power in Congress, they say.
But those within Illinois political circles say take your pick at the possible reasons he shied away from the spotlight this round.
There's Bruce Rauner's formidable potential candidacy and a group with whom Rauner had made considerable contributions was running aggressive TV ads against the congressman from Peoria. (A Rauner spokesman says Rauner was not behind the campaign and that Rauner has donated to Schock in the past, too.)
There's the possibility of running against Lisa Madigan -- and the powerful political force her father wields -- in a general election.
There's the ongoing congressional ethics probe:
"In March 2012, Representative Aaron Schock may have solicited contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor, in violation of federal law, House rules, and standards of conduct."
And as Dave McKinney reported in his story today:
"Aaron realized he is only 31 and is not willing to risk everything against Rauner's millions and probably Lisa Madigan," said one state House Republican familiar with Schock's thinking.
The official word from Schock is this:
"Last fall Congressman Aaron Schock said he was considering whether he could do the most good by running for re-election to Congress or by running for Governor of Illinois," the statement from Schock's office says. "After carefully considering both options, today he is announcing that he has chosen to run for Congress again in 2014."