Race Between Quinn-Brady still too close to call

     By Kevin Lee and Mary Massingale    
               Illinois Statehouse News
   CHICAGO and BLOOMINGTON  –  11/3/10 - After a prolonged election battle lasting the better part of a year, Illinois voters will have to wait some more before knowing who will serve as their next governor.
   The gubernatorial race between Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and challenger State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, was still too close to call after midnight.
   With 98 percent of the precincts counted, the Chicago Tribune was reporting that unofficial counts showed Quinn with a 8,300 vote lead as both candidates garnered about 46 percent of the vote.
   Independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen garnered about 3.6 percent of voters, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney gained 2.7 percent of voters and Libertarian candidate Lex Green earned just less than 1 percent.
   About four minutes after midnight, Brady and his running mate Jason Plummer appeared on stage to cheers of “Brady! Brady!” The Republican state senator thanked his supporters, and joked about the night’s similarity to the primary, when it took several days to decide his 193 vote win over state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale.
   “As some of you may have realized by now, I have a penchant for close elections,” Brady said. “But it seems to be something that always ends up on the right side.”
But he then said the words that none of his supporters wanted to hear after a long, bitter campaign.
   “With over 3.5 million votes cast, this isn’t  going to be decided tonight,” Brady said. “We are excited and optimistic but we want to make sure every voter in the state of Illinois has a right to have their vote counted, and we’re going to make sure that happens, and we’re going to make sure that this process is done right.”
   That was the first appearance Brady made that night, although he earlier allowed photographers to take photos of him, his wife, Nancy, and running mate Jason Plummer in a fifth floor suite of the Doubletree hotel in Bloomington.
   Following Brady’s speech, Quinn made an appearance before supporters at his campaign headquarters, the Hotel Allegro in Chicago.
   His running mate, Southern Illinois University law professor Sheila Simon, said Quinn could provide a better future for Illinois.
   “That is why we do crazy things like knock on door after door and make phone call after phone call after phone call,” she said to applause. “And that is why we vote and that is why we have voted as we have done today.”
   Quinn then took the podium and told his supporters that he concurred with his opponent’s call to have all votes counted.
   “We want to make sure. We want to make sure every vote is counted. I totally agree with that,” Quinn said. “And I know there are votes out here in Cook County and other counties across the state. So we want to make sure they’re counted and counted fairly. But I think when all is said, we’ll end up on top with the most votes.”
   Election officials were predicting the usual 50 percent turnout of the states 7.4 million registered voters historically found in Illinois’ gubernatorial elections. In the days leading up to Election Day, President Barack Obama made appearances with Quinn and state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
   Illinois Democrats hoped for a carryover effect from the 2008 Presidential election, when Democrats at both the federal and state levels were overwhelming winners in the polls.
   But Republicans hoped to take advantage of voter frustration with a struggling economy and sustained one-party control over state government. Illinois Democrats have had control of all six Constitutional offices and both chambers of the legislature since 2002.
   House Democrats hold a 70-48 edge. For Republicans to gain control of that chamber, they would need to gain 12 seats. In the Senate, Democrats hold a 37-22 edge. Legislative seats are crucial in this upcoming legislative session since the state’s legislative and congressional map will be drawn according to what party is in control.
   About 250-300 supporters joined 30 news media outlets at Brady’s headquarters in a Bloomington hotel. State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon; Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro; Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg; Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, and Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady were a few of the notables on hand to support Brady.
   Pat Brady early in the evening predicted a Brady win, saying the new year would see Brady as governor and House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, as Speaker of the Illinois House.
Bivins said if Brady wins, he will draw upon his background as a builder and Realtor.
   “I expect him to run the state like a business,” Bivins said.
   A few hundred supporters gathered at Chicago’s Hotel Allegro, Quinn’s campaign headquarters, awaiting news of the results.
   Political veterans, including U.S Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr., as well as several Chicago Democratic state lawmakers, all came to schmooze with supporters and back Quinn.
   One of those supporters was Will Attig of Carbondale. Attig, a military veteran and Purple Heart winner, had served in Iraq and Afghanistan before returning home without a job.
   Attig, now a welder, said Quinn helped veterans like himself get a job.
    “We came home, we had no future, we have no jobs. He’s decided to give us a new pair of boots, work boots, so we could get to work here in southern Illinois. He’s the man for the job,” he said.
   Story courtesy of Illinois Statehouse News.