CHICAGO (CBS) — There was more to this 4th of July than celebrating the country’s independence. For candidates looking ahead to the governor’s race next year, it also was a chance to get out and meet voters.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov has more on this unseasonal political push.

There’s pomp, there’s the parades, and of course no parade is complete without a few politicians shaking hands and meeting their constituents.

“It’s important that we never forget what a blessing democracy is,” Quinn said at the Arlington Heights parade.

Quinn wasn’t the only 2014 gubernatorial hopeful meeting and greeting folks this summer holiday. His Democratic opponent, campaign trail neophyte Bill Daley, did the same, getting a jump on the sort of politicking that traditionally gets underway on Labor Day.

“Everything seems to start earlier,” Daley said. “Here we are nine months until the primary, and 18 months until the General Election, and people are out there. Some people even have advertising on TV. So that’s unfortunate. I think people think that may be a little early.”

The pressure to raise money and increase name recognition prompted Republican candidates Bruce Rauner and Bill Brady to march in the Arlington Heights parade on Thursday, while fellow GOP hopeful Kirk Dillard marched at the parade in his hometown of Hinsdale.

The Democratic and Republican races both seem to be up for grabs, but for both parties, the big question remains whether Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will jump into the fray, and how successful she’ll be in the Democratic primary.

Daley said he can’t concern himself about whether Madigan will run against him and Quinn.

“I can’t worry about who may get in, who may not get in,” Daley said. “All I’m going to worry about is what I can speak to the people of Illinois, and what I can lay out in programs over the next number of months.”

It’s an answer we’ve heard before, but a Madigan candidacy could be a game changer for Daley and Quinn. It could also further anger disgruntled voters, upset with her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, for the state’s failure to fix the state’s pension mess.

Quinn didn’t want to talk about issues other than the holiday – and legislation he signed Thursday to help veterans get jobs – and declined to answer questions about the governor’s race, the looming pension crisis, or his amendatory veto of concealed carry legislation.

Lawmakers have said they will seek to override that veto on Tuesday, which is also the deadline that Quinn set for a conference committee to send him a pension reform plan. Members of the committee have said they won’t meet that deadline, as they need more time to analyze the numbers of potential pension changes.

“We’ll talk about that tomorrow,” he said.

Daley, however, didn’t hesitate to criticize the state’s handling of its $100 billion pension debt.

“You can’t blame [voters] for being disgusted,” Quinn said.

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