On the Republican side, Sen. Bill Brady led by just a few
hundred votes over Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard said a victory by
Brady, a Bloomington conservative with little support in the Chicago
area, would hurt the GOP's chances of reclaiming the governor's
"If he's the nominee, he'll have a much, much more
difficult time than me beating Pat Quinn," Dillard said Wednesday at
a Republican "unity" breakfast.
Gov. Pat Quinn claimed victory in the Democratic primary over
Comptroller Dan Hynes, despite a margin of less than 1 percent.
Though Obama called Quinn to offer his congratulations, Hynes has
refused to concede.
"It's time to end the fighting," Quinn said as he thanked voters
at a Chicago train station. "I don't believe we are benefiting in
Illinois, certainly in the Democratic party, by having fighting."
Illinois Republicans hope to capture the governor's post as well
as Obama's former Senate seat by exploiting Democratic turmoil and
scandal, including the arrest and ouster of former Gov. Rod
Blagojevich. GOP victories in an increasingly Democratic state would
be another blow to Obama, already stinging from the Republican
victory in a Massachusetts special election for Edward Kennedy's
former Senate seat.
The Senate primary produced no surprises. State Treasurer Alexi
Giannoulias, an Obama friend and former banker, captured the
Democratic nomination. Five-term U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk was the
For governor, it was a different story.
One or both of the races could wind up going to a recount.
Illinois law doesn't require recounts in close races, so the
candidates would have to decide whether to request one and cover the
Quinn is trying to win the governor's office on his own merits
after inheriting it a year ago when Blagojevich was ousted, partly
over allegations that he tried to sell Obama's former Senate seat.
Two months ago, Quinn appeared set to easily win the nomination.
But he was weighed down by the baggage of his two campaigns with
Blagojevich, his support for a major tax increase and a botched
program that granted early release to some violent prison inmates.