Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner eked out a win over State Senator Kirk Dillard in yesterday’s Illinois gubernatorial primary election by 22,499 votes and/or more importantly, by less than three percent. This went against the most recent poll conducted by ‘We Ask America’ on Sunday night, March 16th which had Rauner at 44.24% to Dillard’s 27.36%. State Senator Bill Brady and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford were not factors in yesterday’s race with respective percentages of 15.1 and 7.5 statewide.
The blow-out election numbers for Rauner did not materialize because of downstate voting. Outside of the city of Chicago and Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties, Dillard actually beat Rauner 38.1% to 31.6%. It was speculated that a lot of downstate democrats crossed-over to vote for Dillard to prevent the anti-labor Rauner from winning. They came very, very close.
Hinsdale native Dillard needed to carry his home county, DuPage, and Suburban Cook County to win. He didn’t. Rauner beat Dillard 41,938 to 36,155 in DuPage and 63,305 to 40,248 in Suburban Cook. The differential totals 28,840.
To compare how the results changed from early polling, according to a May 22, 2013 ‘We Ask America’ poll, it reported Rutherford leading with 26% over Brady with 25%, Dillard at 12% and Rauner at 3%. In less than a year, the poll numbers completely changed and actual election figures made the polls look bad – possibly very bad.
Now comes the main event – Quinn versus Rauner. There are so many angles to look at this from that the Illinois Statehouse insiders are salivating. Some of them are:
1. Will running at the top of the GOP ticket in the General Election with State Senator Jim Oberweis, who is vying to replace Dick Durbin in the U.S. Senate, hurt Rauner by association with moderates and independents?
2. Can Governor Quinn rally labor to raise funds and get out the vote?
3. Will the Blagojevich formula work for Quinn, which is all you need is Chicago, Cook County and either St. Clair or Madison County to win a state-wide election? and
4. How active will Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel be in the gubernatorial contest – and for which candidate?
With the primary election over with, the Illinois Statehouse can now get back to governing. Session reconvenes today and the Governor will issue his budget address next Wednesday. Ring the bell. The main event has started.