Candidates drum up last-minute support on eve of primary

Candidates are looking for some last minute support on the eve of Tuesday's Illinois primary election.
March 17, 2014 8:17:55 PM PDT
Candidates are looking for some last minute support on the eve of Tuesday's Illinois primary election. The Republican nomination for governor is the most closely watched race.

Senator Kirk Dillard held a get out the vote rally inside the Diplomat West Banquet Hall in Elmhurst at 6 p.m. on Monday night. He and two of the other Republican candidates for governor have been busy shoring up support across the state.

"Today, we're on our way to Rockford. And then we're going over to Moline and Metro East and Carbondale," said Bruce Rauner, Republican candidate for governor.

Before crisscrossing the state, businessman Bruce Rauner and running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti began their last full day on the campaign trail greeting diners at Lou Mitchell's Restaurant in Chicago.

"There's more to Illinois than just Chicago. We'll be the governor and lieutenant governor for all of Illinois," said State Sen. Bill Brady, Republican candidate for governor.

Sen. Brady and his lieutenant governor candidate Maria Rodriguez spent most of election eve downstate, pressing an appeal to their base of more conservative voters.

"This is not going to be an easy election against Pat Quinn. I believe I have the best footing and foundation to go on to defeat Pat Quinn," said Sen. Brady.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford-- still reeling from an unresolved sexual harassment scandal in his office-- spent the day out of public view but apparently still in the race. In a statement he wrote: "We need to right the ship here in Illinois. I'm asking for your vote tomorrow."

Finally, State Senator Kirk Dillard, before returning to his suburban rally Monday night, continued his statewide tour with running mate State Rep. Jill Tracy and his mentor, former governor Jim Edgar. For the second day in a row, the trio has taken shots at self-described frontrunner Bruce Rauner.

"You're not going to be Pat Quinn with a bizillionaire who's so out of touch with working families that he sees nothing wrong with bending the rules that all other Illinoisans have to live with," said Sen. Dillard.

And incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn, a heavy favorite over former Ceasefire director Tio Hardiman, did not campaign on election eve.

Cook County Clerk notes change among this year's early voters

Among this year's early voters in heavily Democratic Cook County, the Clerk's Office has noticed a change.

"We saw a higher percentage of Republicans voting early voting than normal," said David Orr, Cook County Clerk.

Could it be that Democrats, bored by their own party's uncontested races, are taking Republican ballots?

"Certainly, since there's unfortunately few real contests in the Democratic primary, then that could be a factor," said Orr.

The state's largest public sector unions, representing hundreds of thousands of public school teachers-- whose majorities traditionally support Democrats--are backing Republican Kirk Dillard in the primary. The union leaders have urged members to work and vote against Bruce Rauner, whose doing his best to attract disgruntled Democrats and independents to the Republican side with his focus on term limits.

"We've gotta rip the corruption out of Springfield by bringing term limits to our state government, eight years and out," said Rauner.

But Dillard's supporters believe the more independents and Democrats to pull GOP ballots will mean more votes for their candidate.

"It's going to be determined by turnout. And we won't know until Tuesday night just what that turnout is going to be," said Jim Edgar, former governor.

"It's going to be a great civics lesson. Turnout's the key, we don't know where people will turn out. There's some key races in DuPage County, my home base, that could help elevate the turnout out of here, so it's all about getting out the vote," said Sen. Dillard.

"Just a little earlier I saw a Democrat who said, 'I'm taking a ballot to vote for you,'" said Sen. Brady.

Rauner had his final campaign rally at 7 p.m. Monday night in southwest suburban Hickory Hills.

If you plan to cast your ballot in Tuesday's primary, the polls open at 6 a.m. and will remain open until 7 p.m. Election officials are predicting low voter turnout.


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