J.B. Pritzker waves to the crowd in celebration of his victory in the Illinois governor's race. At his side is Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton.
By Joe Boyle
Blue was confirmedas the dominant color Tuesday night in Illinois as all five Democrats registered victories in statewide races, fueled by massive voter turnout in suburban Cook County and the city. J.B. Pritzker led the sweep with a decisive win over Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner in the race for governor'
Pritzker won this race by a 2-to-1 margin. The figures were so decisive early that Rauner gave his concession speech at about 8 p.m.
"This election is over," Rauner told the disappointed crowd. "This is a time for everyone to come together. Now is the time to move forward. There is so much that needs to be done. For the people who supported me, please don't give up. Thank you all for the opportunity to serve you."
Rauner's tenure appeared to be in trouble when he barely defeated state Rep. Jeannie Ives in the primary. Ives entered the race because she believed he had turned his back on conservatives when he voted for a tax increase last year.
And Rauner could not keep up with Pritzker's wallet. He spent over $171 million in the most expensive campaign in U.S. history. Rauner spent $71.5 million on the campaign.
"Bruce Rauner called me and I want to thank him for his service," Pritzker said. "Are you ready for the fight? The fight for health care for everyone. The fight for education. We have work to do."
in suburban Cook County, Pritzker had 465,227 votes (61.75 percent) with over 90 precincts reporting. Rauner had 255,831 votes (33.95 percent) and William "Sam" McCann, who ran as a Conservative, had 17,857 for 2.37 percent of the votes. Libertarian Grayson "Kash" Jackson had 14,527 votes (1.93 percent)
With over 90 percent of the votes tallied in Chicago, Pritzker had 631,839 votes to Rauner's 119,548, while Jackson and McCann were a distant third and fourth.
The other state races nearly matched the resounding win by Pritzker. In the Illinois Attorney General race, state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13th) defeated Republican Erika Harold, an attorney who grew up in Urbana and became Miss America in 2003. This was Harold's first time running for office.
Raoul, who was chosen to replace Barack Obama when he ran for the U.S Senate in 2004, was considered the favorite to win although Harold had reportedly gained momentum over the past couple of months, according to some polls. Democrats were concerned enough that House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22nd) contributed $1 million to his campaign and Obama even made a commercial in support of Raoul.
"I really admire Erika Harold," said Raoul after his opponent conceded. "She is a smart lawyer. We have a difference of opinions on some issues, but she ran a good campaign. But for the people who said this was going to be a nail-biter, well, numbers don't lie."
As of late Tuesday night with over 90 percent of the votes tallied in suburban Cook County, Raoul had 471,401 votes (62.60 percent) to Harold's 264,779 votes (35.16 percent). Libertarian Bubba Harsay was a distant third with 16,894 votes (2.24 percent). In Chicago with over 90 percent of the votes reported, Raoul had 630,705 votes (80.67 percent) while Harold had 134,457 (17.20 percent). Harsy had just over two percent of the vote.
"Even though it did not go our way tonight, we did so many things we can be proud of," Harold told her supporters.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will serve another term after defeating Republican Jason Helland and Libertarian Steve Dutner. In suburban Cook County with over 90 percent of the vote tallied, White had 571,252 votes (75.61 percent). Helland had 165,971 (21.97). Dutner had 18,288 votes (2.42 percent). In Chicago, White had 690,744 votes with over 88 percent of the vote.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza won decisively in suburban Cook County with 571,252 votes (75.61 percent) with the majority of precincts reporting. Republican Darlene Senger had 218,438 votes (29.05 percent). Libertarian Claire Bell had 20,392 votes (2.71 percent). In Chicago with over 90 percent of ballots cast, Mendoza had 667,257 (84.76 percent). Senger had 96,210 votes (12.2 percent). Ball had just over three percent of the vote.
Mendoza's apparent victory came with some controversy as she was criticized by Senger and others for recording a commercial for mayor of Chicago that was leaked to the press. Mendoza responded that she was concentrating on being reelected as comptroller. Mendoza admitted that she was considering a run for another office.
Democratic incumbent Michael Freirichs will return as the state treasurer. With over 90 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Freirichs had 484,158 votes (64.98 percent) and Republican and Orland Park Trustee Jim Dodge had 236,647 votes (31.76 percent). Libertarian Michael Leheney had 24,230 votes (3.25 percent). In Chicago, Freirichs had 643,525 votes (82.64 percent). Dodge was a distant second with just under 14 percent of the vote.