Four years after narrowly losing to Pat Quinn in the race for Illinois Governor, Sen. Bill Brady is going to give it another shot. At the first stop of his four-stop tour of Illinois on Wednesday, Brady announced his candidacy for governor at a hotel in downtown Chicago.

Brady will face a crowded Republican field in the primary: Treasurer Dan Rutherford, millionaire businessman Bruce Rauner and Sen.  Kirk Dillard, the candidate Brady beat in the 2010 primary by just 193 votes.

“With the right leadership, Illinois can grow and prosper again,” Brady said in his prepared statement.

Brady believes that his experience from four years ago will serve him well this time around, in both the primary and in the general election.

“That last election moved us, we believe, from maybe a regional candidate who represents a senate district to a candidate who’s traveled the entire state and worked with people throughout the state,” Brady said.

In 2010, Brady won 98 of the 102 counties in Illinois. He lost to Quinn by less than five percent in three of those counties. But in Cook County, Brady got steamrolled and it ended up costing him the election.

“I don’t know that I’ve learned much that I would change,” Brady said of his loss four years ago. “But there’s four more (counties) that we’ve got to get better in. Having won 98 (counties) gives me the opportunity to refocus our energy on counties we didn’t do as well in. We need to get more votes in the four counties we didn’t win, predominately Cook County.”

Brady is a social conservative, something that hurt him significantly in Cook County in 2010. While the focus of his campaign this time is on economic issues, he did say there were several issues in Cook County that could help him win more votes in the county.

“I’ve worked on several issues with the Latino community,” Brady said. “I’ve worked with the black community to pass a resolution…to leverage the resources to crack down on gun violence.”

Along with those social issues, Brady is banking on the shortcomings of the current administration to help him obtain votes in Cook County.

“Pat Quinn, although a nice guy, has not delivered,” Brady said. “As much as I want his help and we’ll work with him on pension reform, he’s failed to deliver on that.”

Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno appointed Brady to the pension conference committee that is tasked with having a pension reform agreement in place by July 9.

“Running for governor of the state of Illinois means I’m a glass half full guy,” Brady said. “So I believe that the glass is half full when it comes to the conference committee.”

While Brady has the name recognition of being a former candidate for governor and now a member of the conference committee, he will have a tough challenge in a Republican primary that some feel is too crowded. Both Rutherford and Dillard have name recognition throughout the state, too, and Rauner will easily be able to spend more money than the other candidates thanks to his vast personal wealth.

“It’s a lot of money,” Brady said. “I don’t think there’s any question that Bruce Rauner…can outspend any candidate. But money doesn’t win elections. Votes do. And you earn votes by getting to know the people.”

When asked about Rauner’s statement that he’s the best candidate since he’s not a Springfield insider unlike Brady, Dillard and Rutherford, Brady used Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions in an analogy to disagree.

“If the Blackhawks had to look for a new coach, and I know we don’t want them to, I’d think they’d look for someone with hockey experience,” Brady said. “So I think being the governor you should have the experience of being in government.”

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