Illinois Primary 2018: Bruce Rauner wins tight race against Jeanne Ives for GOP nomination

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What's next for Bruce Rauner

ABC7 Political Science Analyst Laura Wasington and Political Report Craig Wall discuss what's next for Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Governor Bruce Rauner eked out a narrow win against State Rep. Jeanne Ives to earn the Republican nomination for his second term.

Ives challenged Rauner after claiming Rauner had abandoned conservative values by signing public financing of abortions and a law limiting law enforcement interaction with immigrants. She ran a highly criticized ad dramatizing the effects of those laws.

Rauner largely ignored her until she out-dueled him in a policy discussion before the Chicago Tribune editorial board in January. He then ran ads critical of her.

"We are in a critical time, a critical turning point in Illinois," Rauner told supporters. "I am humbled by this victory. You have given me a chance to win the battle against corruption that plagues Illinois."

WATCH: Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses supporters
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Governor Bruce Rauner addressed supporters and claimed victory in the Republican primary Tuesday night.

Ives also address supporters Tuesday night, telling them she was proud of her campaign, but that they came up "just a little bit short."

WATCH: Jeanne Ives addresses supporters
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State Rep. Jeanne Ives addresses supporters and concedes the GOP primary election to Governor Bruce Rauner.

The governor stumped in the suburbs Tuesday, focusing on the north and west sides, and urged supporters to get out and vote.

This has been an expensive primary for Rauner, who has reportedly pumped more than $50 million of his own money into the campaign.

Rauner, 61, took advantage of a national GOP wave four years ago to pull off a surprising victory in a state otherwise dominated by Democrats and win his first political office.

Ives raised just $4 million - less than any of the other prominent candidates, but has attacked the governor's conservative credentials in edgy TV ads. One of them, which the chairman of the state GOP blasted as a "cowardly attempt to stoke political division," portrays actors mockingly thanking Rauner for not doing enough to restrict illegal immigration, abortion and transgender bathroom rights.

But it is the perception of failure on issues like taxes, term limits and job growth, as well as education funding and abortion in some GOP circles, that seems to have lifted Ives' self-described insurgent campaign against a sitting governor from her own party.

"Primaries are really important because they hold your party's elected officials accountable for their actions over the course of their term, and nobody needs to be held accountable more than Bruce Rauner," Ives said.

As she voted in Wheaton, she was surrounded by family, including some of her sons. She said the last days of the campaign have been exhilarating.

State Republican lawmakers have been split on who to support. State Rep. Tom Morrison (55th District) said the governor's support for state-funded abortions under Medicare and Medicaid was what flipped him.

"People like me went to the governor and said, yes we know that you're pro-choice, but not even a Democrat governor would consider signing something like that into law," Morrison said.

"Governor Rauner's battling with Speaker Madigan has put a lot of people in a position where they wish there was more that was completed," said State Rep. Bill Brady.

Rauner invoked Madigan in his ads against Ives, calling her "Mike Madigan's favorite Republican and Illinois' worst nightmare."

Rauner rolled to victory in 2014 with a promise to "shake up" Springfield with a pro-business, anti-union agenda including lower property taxes and term limits on officeholders. But his ongoing spat with Madigan and other legislative Democrats left the state without a budget for two years while billions of dollars of debt piled up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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politicselection 2018vote 2018primary electionrepublicansBruce RaunerIllinois
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