Race for governor too close to call

February 3, 2010 6:33:11 AM PST
Incumbent Pat Quinn says he's the winner, but opponent Dan Hynes says he's continuing his fight for the Democratic nomination. With 99-percent of the votes counted in the Democratic primary, Quinn was in the lead, but only by about 7,000 votes.

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Around midnight, Hynes told supporters he was going to keep on fighting.

"This is a close race, a very, very close race," said Hynes. "And, you know, a couple of months ago no one thought it would be this close."

Quinn has 50 percent of the vote while Hynes has 49-percent. Two-percent of the votes have yet to come in.

"And if Democracy means anything, it means that we need to count all of the votes. All of them," Hynes said.

Quinn's supporters waited until the early morning for the governor to speak at his campaign party. He was apparently waiting to hear if Hynes would concede. With Hynes' vow to fight, the exhausting campaign continues.

Quinn took the stage at 12:15 a.m. and spoke about the importance of reuniting the party and moving forward.

"The time for fighting is over. We have won this election," said Gov. Quinn. "We have consumers to protect in Illinois. We have children to be educated in Illinois. We have healthcare to be delivered in Illinios. We have veterans and service members and their families to be taken care of in Illinois. And we have lots and lots of jobs to make in our state and we want to grow Illinois."

His campaign staff had said he would make a statement, but Quinn's address was more of a victory speech.

For the Republicans, it's even closer-- a very tight race between Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady. Early Wednesday, only about 500 votes separated the two candidates.

Votes continued to be counted Wednesday as Republicans planned to gather for a unity breakfast.

Overnight, Brady briefly talked of victory in an address to supporters at approximately 12:30 a.m.

"We like our position here tonight," said Brady, who said he'd rather be ahead by 25,000 votes- but 2,500 will do.

At 2:00 a.m., Brady and Dillard both had 20 percent of the vote.

Late Tuesday, McKenna was in a close third position with a few thousand votes back at 19-percent.

Brady called the other candidates 'honorable' men.

"Thank you all for hanging around, for your patience and your support," Dillard said to a crowd of cheering supporters. "Breaking reports show that we are within less than 1,000 votes of victory."

Democratic gubernatorial candidates cast ballots

Hynes was upbeat as he cast his vote early Tuesday morning at a neighborhood fire station.

"I feel good about the momentum. We have really surged in the polls and we could just feel our enthusiasm and strength among our supporters," said Comptroller Hynes.

Three hours later, Governor Pat Quinn walked from his West Side home to his polling place at a neighborhood church. He was equally upbeat and wearing his lucky tie.

"I figure I better wear this tie. I have worn it quite a few times as governor, and it's a lucky tie," said Gov. Quinn.

Hynes spent the noon hour with campaign workers at his River North headquarters, imploring them to keep pushing until the polls close. Around the same time, the governor drove his 92-year-old mother to a polling place in River Forest and helped her inside.

"She's really involved in this campaign. She's a hardworking volunteer, so she's going to vote, and we'll see what the election results bring," said Gov. Quinn.

"I'm really proud of the campaign team I've put in place. The teams have worked so hard, and also just the type of campaign I've run," said Hynes.

Both camps were quietly concerned about the low turnout due to the morning snowfall. Only a few dozen people had voted by noon at the polling places used by the candidates. The turnout was decidedly larger in African-American precincts on the South Side of the city, while voting downstate was reported at extremely low levels as of Tuesday morning.

"In bad weather, typically an organization that can generate turnout will hold back," said Richard Day, RD Research.

Governor Quinn is endorsed by many more elected officials while he and the comptroller have split the endorsements of labor unions.

"I think we have given voters what they need to make a decision, what I have to offer, 11 years of public experience," said Hynes.

"The weather is tough today, but coming out and voting is a good way for all of us to tell the whole country and the whole world that Illinois is back on track," said Gov. Quinn.

Republican governor candidates cast ballots

The field is fractured for the Republicans with six candidates in the race for governor. Even veteran political operatives are hesitant to predict who will go on to the general election.

Adam Andrzejewski voted Tuesday morning, but the machine kept spitting back his ballot.

"We're gonna need to invest in more voting machines. That's for sure," Andrzejewski said.

Innocent error as it turns out. Andrzejewski over voted. He re-worked it and got his vote in.

"There it is -- proof. It's not like I'm going to be shut out," said Dan Proft, commentator, longtime political operative, and another Republican candidate for governor, while voting in Chicago Tuesday morning.

Senator Bill Brady, who finished third in the Republican gubernatorial primary four years ago, voted in his hometown of Bloomington.

The polls had suggested the evening would end with a thoroughbred sprint between three of the six candidates -- Andy McKenna, Jim Ryan and State Senator Kirk Dillard.

"This is a fractured situation. One county is for this guy while this county is for this guy while another county is for that guy. Even Brady might pull up there, but I think it's between those three right now," said Don Rose, political consultant. "It's going to be a function of Election Day operations. Whoever has the best Election Day operations and with those Republicans, it's hard to predict."

So with regional and ideological loyalties playing a part, the GOP winner may well be the candidate who had the best vote-producing organization.

"I'm very confident the momentum is with my campaign. I've had a great run over seven months traveling this state," Dillard said.

"We've been talking about cutting spending, not raising taxes. We have great momentum with that and we believe it's motivating people to vote," said McKenna.

"This is my fifth statewide Republican primary. I kind of feel like I know the state. I get a feel for the people I'm talking to, and I feel good," said Ryan.