Primary Winners Look Ahead to November

Mar 21, 2018

Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner will square off this fall in the general election for Illinois governor.

Each pumped millions into their campaigns to win primary races.

Their return on investment shows just how costly this race will be.  Pritzker's war chest equates to raising 124-dollars per vote... easily ahead of his closest rivals. Rauner had an even greater advantage, raising 215-dollars per vote.  Challenger Jeanne Ives nearly won despite a huge difference in money.  She raised just 12-dollars per vote

Colin Williams of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says the huge amount of campaign cash for the winners makes it difficult for those who aren't independently wealthy to run successfully.
 
"When you don't have money and your opponent is able to spend $70 million dollars against you crushing your name recognition, crushing your reputation before you even have a chance to make a name for yourself independently, so it is a huge barrier."
 
Most predict this gubernatorial race will be the most expensive in U.S. history.

Rauner made a strong showing in Cook County while his opponent Jeanne Ives came out on top in several of the collar counties. 

Ives also had success in parts of central and southern Illinois as she won 38 counties in all. 

But Rauner was able to pull out a narrow victory statewide. 

On the Democratic side, voters went heavily for winner J.B. Pritzker.  He outperformed his challengers in all but a handful of areas. 

Daniel Biss won in McLean and Champaign counties.   Chris Kennedy won the more sparsely populated Ford and Hardin counties. 

Democratic voters also showed up in bigger numbers.  Turnout among Democrats is estimated to have been 300 percent higher than in 2014. 

That compares with 30 percent fewer Republicans.

Rauner's single digit margin over representative Jeanne Ives is something host of Illinois Lawmakers Jak Tichenor says is something to note.

"To come from that far back in obscurity and to be within an eyelash or two of one of the best funded gubernatorial candidates in the county, although he has a pretty terrible job approval rating, that is very significant."

The Ives campaign saw wins in several southern Illinois counties.

Tichenor says the closeness of the race could cause problems in the Republican party come November.