Rauner defeats Quinn to become state governor


Paige Leskin/Daily Senior Staffer

Republican Bruce Rauner speaks to a crowd of supporters Tuesday night at the Hilton Chicago. Rauner beat Gov. Pat Quinn to become the first GOP Illinois governor in 12 years.

Paige Leskin, City Editor

CHICAGO — Republican Bruce Rauner was named the winner Tuesday night in a highly contested race, defeating Gov. Pat Quinn to become the next Illinois governor.

Multiple news outlets called the election in Rauner’s favor at about 10:30 p.m. With more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, Rauner beat the incumbent governor, securing more than 50 percent of the gubernatorial votes.

Rauner took the stage at the Hilton Chicago’s ballroom a little after 11 p.m. as the crowd chanted his name. Standing in front of an American flag backdrop and a group of supporters waving Rauner campaign signs, the governor-elect thanked the audience for voting for him and believing in him.

Rauner is the first Republican Illinois governor in 12 years.

“This is a victory for every family in Illinois. Are you ready for a new direction?” Rauner said. “This election is about bringing back our great state … I am honored, I am humbled to go to work for you.”

The election of a Republican governor with a legislative body that is majority Democrat is a first for Illinois in many years, yet Rauner assured the crowd that it would not cause the state to come to a standstill.

“This is an opportunity for us to work together,” Rauner said. “This is an opportunity for us to come together on a bipartisan basis to solve the problems, the challenges facing the families of Illinois.”

The audience took the chance to boo State House Speaker Michael Madigan and State Senate President John Cullerton, both Democrats, when Rauner said he had called them after winning the election. He stressed to the crowd that he would make certain the divided government would not lead to fighting, he said.

Rauner said he would focus foremost on creating a “thriving economy” and making taxpayer dollars count. Illinois has to work to make itself appealing and attractive to businesses that can create jobs, he said.

“We need Illinois to be competitive and we need Illinois to stay compassionate. We can’t do one without the other, they are both critically important,” he said. “We can judge our nation by how well we care for our most vulnerable citizens.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who was re-elected Tuesday to serve the state’s 16th District, said Rauner and his new policies would help Illinois out of its economic downturn.

Illinois’ unemployment rate is among the worst in the country, a statistic that many supporters took the opportunity to mention. Rauner would help bring more jobs to the state and improve its economy, Kinzinger said.

“Regardless of whether you’re Republican, Democrat or other, it’s time for something different. Illinois has to turn this around,” Kinzinger told The Daily. “We’re not just losing jobs to India, we’re losing them to Indiana, and that’s something that we can change.”

Evelyn Sanguinetti, Rauner’s running mate and lieutenant governor-elect, took the stage ahead of Rauner and spoke about the state’s promising future that voters could look forward to.

Sanguinetti is the first Latina lieutenant governor in Illinois’ history, a monumental feat that points toward more to come, she said.

“It’s the victory of all Illinois women. It is the victory of all Latino communities in Illinois,” she said. “Change is on its way.”

Rauner thanked his supporters for putting up with the “mudslinging” that characterized the gubernatorial races, he said.

Both Rauner and Quinn spent much of their campaigns attacking each other. Rauner labeled the governor a failure who had driven the state into the ground, while Quinn called the Republican a millionaire who was out-of-touch with lower income constituents.

Throughout the night, election predictions from media outlets were shown on a projector on one side of the ballroom. Displays of Republican-won races and those with GOP candidates in the lead were met with loud cheers from the ballroom supporters, who were allowed into the party at 7:30 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), as well as many Republican state and national Congressmen up for re-election, made appearances to celebrate Rauner’s victory.

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