Rauner defeats Quinn in governor’s race

By Copy Chief & Opinions Editor

With exuberant cheers and a resounding 4-point lead, Republican candidate Bruce Rauner won the race for Illinois governor on Nov. 4. 

At the campaign reception at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago, the cheers began when 88 percent of the precincts reported back with Rauner in the lead. A supporter waved a hand-drawn portrait of Rauner and his wife in the air, and people pressed in close around the stage where the governor elect spoke.

“This election is about bringing back our great state,” Rauner said in his victory speech. “I am humbled to work for you and every family in this great state. We need Illinois to be competitive, and we need Illinois to stay compassionate.”

Rauner, a Winnetka, Illinois native, is a first-time political candidate and the chairman of R8 Capital Partners and the former chairman of the venture capital firm GTCR. He ran with Evelyn Sanguinetti as his lieutenant governor.

He edged out incumbent governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat from Hinsdale, Illinois, and Chad Grimm, the longshot Libertarian candidate from Peoria, Illinois. Quinn won 46.3 percent of the popular vote and Grimm won 3.37 percent, with Rauner coming in at 50.6 percent.

The Illinois gubernatorial race has been one of the most contentious and closely watched in the country. Back in August, Rauner had a solid 7 point lead on Quinn, but as more negative press came out, the lead diminished, petering at less than a point’s difference between the two candidates on election night, according to a RealClearPolitics poll tracking summary.

The race has drawn wide attention because of the enormous amount of money the two main candidates spent—more than $41 million from Rauner’s camp and $29 million from Quinn’s to date—on attack advertising and visibility. Rauner took criticism throughout the season for donating funds to his own campaign. He was endorsed by both major news organizations in Chicago—the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rauner’s main goals for the office are to raise the statewide minimum wage, to reform pension policy and to reduce income taxes. He has also opposed the right-to-work labor union efforts.

Rauner won broad support from the black community as well with promises to improve job prospects and listen to community concerns, according to Hermene Hartman, publisher of N’DIGO, a black community news publication.

“He campaigned in the African American communities,” Hartman said. “Republicans have traditionally ignored the African American community and African Americans have traditionally ignored Republicans. This time, I think you saw a different dynamic and more of a match.”

Additional reporting was contributed by Andrew Fair.