Quinn's lead amounted to less than one-third of one percentage point as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, but it's a difference way too big, the governor's people say, for Brady to make up.
"The people have won, and I believe we have won," Quinn said election night.
The governor's unofficial declaration of victory happened well after midnight when he led Brady by just under 11,000 votes.
"We know there are more votes to be counted, we're 10,933 ahead," Quinn said. "And I'd rather be ahead than 10,933 behind."
Later Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of the state's precincts counted, the governor's lead had shrunk to just over 8,000. By mid-afternoon, the advantage had swelled again to 13,000.
In a statement, a Quinn campaign spokesman e-mailed, "The ballots left to be counted appear mostly to come from Cook County, where the Governor held a large margin over Senator Brady. We expect to hold our lead, and may increase it. We do not see a path to victory for Bill Brady."
Quinn election law attorney Burt Odelson, who is helping monitor the count for the governor, said he is convinced that when all the votes are tallied, Quinn will win the election by 14,000-15,000 votes.
"If I were advising Senator Brady, and I actually have in the past, I would advise him that there is absolutely no hope for a recount, none," Odelson said. "He should get on with the business of governing because this lead is going to be sustained."
On Thursday, the state senate convenes in the veto session to consider a bill to borrow money to pay the state's pension obligation, a big sign that Senate President John Cullerton believes the next governor will be Quinn, who supports the pension borrowing.