Bruce Rauner
Bruce Rauner

One of the Repub­li­can gov­er­nors that Democ­rats set their sights on defeat­ing at the begin­ning of this cycle has now been top­pled, accord­ing to media projections.

Illi­nois’s next chief exec­u­tive will be a Demo­c­rat, the Chica­go Tri­bune reports. “Repub­li­can Bruce Rauner’s staff says the gov­er­nor has con­ced­ed to Demo­c­rat J.B. Pritzk­er and promised a smooth tran­si­tion,” the news­pa­per’s Jeff Coen reports.

Rauner’s con­ces­sion call to Pritzk­er came about 30 min­utes after polls closed, cam­paign spokesman Will Alli­son said.

Bare­ly any votes had been count­ed in the bit­ter race in which the two can­di­dates broke nation­al cam­paign spend­ing records by tap­ping their per­son­al for­tunes for hun­dreds of mil­lions of dollars.

Pritzk­er pumped $171.5 mil­lion into his cam­paign fund over the course of two years. The mon­ey paid for a non­stop stream of adver­tis­ing on TV and the inter­net to both attack Rauner and get Pritzker’s name in front of vot­ers in a state where he’s nev­er held elect­ed office.

And some of it went to oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic cam­paigns and caus­es, build­ing the par­ty with his per­son­al wealth just like Rauner did for Illi­nois Republicans.

Rauner has now been defeat­ed in a man­ner sim­i­lar to how he was elect­ed four years ago — a rather inter­est­ing turn of events.

Pritzk­er will inher­it a state gov­ern­ment grap­pling with a lot of fis­cal prob­lems, but he will have a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leg­is­la­ture to work to try to move his reform agenda.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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