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.