Dillard to wait for absentee, provisional ballot counts

February 5, 2010 3:18:46 PM PST
It will be more than a week before we know who will be the Republican party nominee in the race for Illinois governor. Kirk Dillard says he wants to wait until all of the absentee and provisional ballots are counted before he or Bill Brady is declared the winner.

Brady leads Dillard by only 406 votes. Dillard says the primary isn't over until every vote is counted. Brady says, whether it's now or next week, he is confident he will be the nominee.

There was a subtle but noticeable shift in the confidence level Friday from the Dillard camp to the Brady camp. And there was an early sign that Republican leaders are beginning to rally around Senator Brady.

When Kirk Dillard was videotaped early Friday afternoon at Chicago's Union League Club he still trailed by 406 votes. The Hinsdale state senator did not -- as he did two days ago -- insist that it was only a matter of time before he would be declared the nominee.

"When you have a race this important, it is essential that every vote count," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) candidate for governor.

The confident one Friday was Bill Brady. The Bloomington state senator said he has been told there are not enough outstanding votes -- to be split six ways -- to affect his lead.

"Our attorneys tell us, consultants tell us, it should break just as the election. Theoretically, I should pick up a few," said State Sen. Bill Brady, (R) candidate for governor.

Election officials in all 102 counties have until February 16 to count the estimated 5,000-10,000 absentee and provisional votes. Most are expected to be Democratic ballots, and remember, the Republican vote will be divided among six candidates.

Dillard was asked Friday, if he is still trailing by a few hundreds at mid-month, Would he seek an official recount?

"That would be something I'd do in conjunction with my campaign manager staff and supporters. And it's way too early to go there," Dillard said.

"My sense is, when this all shakes out, Senator Brady's gonna be the Republican nominee," said State Sen. Matt Murphy, (R) Palatine.

Senator Murphy, third place candidate Andy McKenna and State House Republican Leader Tom Cross met with Brady Friday morning.

"Certainly, all the votes should be counted, but he's the leader and I think the expected nominee at this point," said Andy McKenna, (R) former candidate for governor.

Cross does not want either candidate to request a recount.

"It certainly takes away from the issues of the day of taxes and spending. And, quite frankly, it's an expensive endeavor for both sides," said Rep. Tom Cross, (R) Oswego.

Dillard -- still holding out hope -- thought the meeting in Brady's office was premature.

"Unless they know what those 5,000-to-10,000 potential votes have in 'em, yeah, they're premature," said Dillard.

Dillard said Friday his chances rest in where the absentee and provisional ballots are being counted. Most of them, he says, are in the Chicago area, which gives him an advantage over Senator Brady.

But, most of those ballots are likely to be Democratic, and the smaller Republican vote could be split as many as six ways.