As of Wednesday at 1 a.m., Quinn had a slight lead on Brady.
"The people have won and I believe we have won," said Quinn. "We know there are more votes to be counted, but we know we are 10,933 votes ahead. And I'd rather be ahead than 10,933 behind."
Quinn joked that he was on his way to a "landslide" victory in his speech to supporters.
Earlier Tuesday, Republican Bill Brady had said he wants to make sure every vote is counted in the race for Illinois governor. He thanked his supporters and that while he is excited and optimistic about the outcome of the gubernatorial race, the winner would be undecided until all the votes are counted, which could take days.
Both Quinn and the Brady, a state senator from Bloomington, have 46-percent of the vote with only 3-percent of precincts left to count. That equals around 90,000 votes- and means it will be awhile until a winner is declared.
"You know, I have a better idea tomorrow morning but my guess is it's going to be days. And depending how close it gets, it becomes weeks because the process changes every hour," said Pat Brady, Ill. Rep. Party chair.
Quinn is ahead by 8,000 votes as of midnight. There are 13,000 ballots alone under police guard in the basement of the county building at 69 West Washington Street. Eleven lawyers from both parties have been down there to make sure the ballots, which are under 24 hour police guard and surveillance in a locked room, are secure.
"Any time an election is this close, the party and candidates are going to be on top of the situation and we're here to just make sure these votes are secure, that they don't wander off in the middle of the night and are ready to be processed tomorrow," said Brian Sheehan, general counsel for the Republican Party.
Officials don't know how many other ballots remain uncounted across state.
Brady catches Quinn with downstate votes
While many of the votes that came in early were out of Democratic-heavy Cook County, results trickled in from Republican-heavy DuPage County. That's led Brady to close in on Quinn's lead in the middle of the race.
"Downstate comes in late," said Pat Brady, Illinois Republican Party chair. Pat Brady, who is not related to the candidate, is optimistic the Republican will take the lead. "That's what happened in the primary. That's what happens in all these races. . . Bill's picking up 60% of the vote downstate so we feel confident that Bill will eventually come over the top."
Quinn's camp is watching what they're referring to as the "tsunami of the south" to see if they can hold their own.
"Everyone upstairs is optimistic. We're looking at the numbers and see we hit our projected targets or above in the city and the collar. So those collar county voters came out for the governor today. Everyone is cautiously optimistic but we're doing well," said the communications director for the Quinn Campaign. She said Quinn is with his family, watching the returns.
As the votes trickle in, it's too soon to call.
"I quit predicting about an hour ago. It's going to be a long night," said Pat Brady.
Quinn, Brady vote with families
Quinn wants four more years in the governor's mansion, but Brady and several other candidates hoped to move in.
Quinn, who got the job after Rod Blagojevich was indicted and impeached last year, faces Brady, independent Scott Lee Cohen, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney and Libertarian Lex Green.
All of the candidates for governor made the rounds Tuesday.
Quinn and his sons cast ballots at a polling place inside Galewood Community Church on the city's West Side at approximately 10 a.m.
"My two sons have been coming to this polling place with me since they were born. And it is important to vote for our future," said Quinn.
Quinn also took his 93-year-old mother to vote at her polling place in River Forest. The retired teacher took a photo of her late husband with her.
"I had to think about it, but I did. I certainly did. And it was with great pleasure," said Eileen Quinn about voting for her son.
"I hope everybody marches to the polls and votes their conscience and if they vote for Pat Quinn, they're going to win with Quinn," said Quinn.
Brady started the day in Chicago, where he attended Mass at Holy Name Cathedral before going to the polls with his wife and son in his hometown of Bloomington. Only after he started voting did the senator realize he was given two ballots. The local election judge joked, "You've got to give one back. This ain't Cook County."
In an election tradition, Brady and his wife split a double cheeseburger at a bar called Winner's in Bloomington.
"We are thankful. The people of Illinois have been very hospitable. They are looking forward to a change. We are thankful for all they have given us, the opportunity to visit and share ideas," Brady said.
In the meantime, independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen, the man who was pressured to drop out of the Democratic lieutenant governor's race because of a personal scandal, voted at Covenant Presbyterian Church on the city's Near North Side. His campaign has been focusing on creating jobs.
Quinn looks to Chicagoland, Brady turns downstate
Experts say the mid-term election comes down to a simple numbers game that boils down to voter turnout and geography. If turnout is high in the Chicagoland area, then Quinn will win. However, if voter turnout is higher in the other counties, central and southern Illinois, Brady is expected to win.
Throughout the day, several Chicago phone banks called the home of presumed Democrats to get out the vote.
"I am a Chicago union member and we are calling to encourage them to get out and vote today," said Phyllis Holiday, phone bank worker. "The election is very, very close and we can use all the help that we can get. And if they're uncertain we're offering rides and any type of support that we can give."
"They're encouraged that someone has called them and is asking them to get out to vote and exercise their franchise," said John O'Grady, phone bank worker.
Downstate, Brady's campaign likes what it hears from the troops in the fields. He hopes to ride a wave of support from a rejuvenated Republican Party four years after they locked up control and four statewide offices and both sides of the general assembly.
"I hope to get a victory tonight and then we can put this state on the right path. There are a lot of people in Illinois that are hurting, record unemployment, deficits and debt. Fixing it goes hand in glove," said Brady.
He has spent time, money, and energy outside of the immediate Chicago area. Four years ago, Illinois voter turnout was:
In Brady's hometown, there's a feeling that Chicago might get more than its share.
"Let's face it for the last eight years, by all appearances the politicos in Chicago have been running the state into the ground," said Brady.
"Everything is done for Chicago. And [they] leave us out in the woods down here," said Don Withers, Normal, Ill., resident.
Republicans are clearly excited and believing they have the momentum this year in a traditionally blue state like Illinois but everyone is predicting a long night.
As of Tuesday afternoon, turnout in heavily Republican Sangamon County is running exceptionally high for an election with a 60 to 65-percent.