Illinois gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014

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This election page was last edited at 3:27 pm October 29, 2014.


Illinois Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial Election

Primary Date
March 18, 2014

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Race rating: Lean Democrat

November 4 Election Winners:
Incumbents prior to election:
Gov. Pat Quinn Democratic Party
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon Democratic Party
Gov. Pat Quinn
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon
Illinois State Executive Elections
Top Ballot
Governor Lieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney General
Down Ballot
Treasurer, Controller

Current trifecta for Democrats
WhoRunsTheStates Badge.jpg
State executive offices in Illinois
Flag of Illinois.png
The Illinois gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn (D) is running for re-election. Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, however, opted to run for state comptroller in 2014 rather than seek re-election with Quinn.

Quinn is widely recognized as one of the most vulnerable governors facing re-election in the 2014 electoral cycle.[1] He faces Republican nominee Bruce Rauner and Libertarian Party candidate Chad Grimm in the general election.

The Illinois gubernatorial race has become a heated contest between Quinn and Rauner with polls showing razor-thin margins between the two candidates. Grimm's share of the vote could impact the outcome of the general election based on polling details available here. Learn more about the history of this close election in the race background section or read about debates in the election in the debates section.

Illinois is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Voters do not have to register with a party, but they do have to choose, publicly, which party's ballot they will vote on at the primary election.[2]

The competitive gubernatorial contest is the only race on the November ballot that threatens to shift the partisan balance of power in Illinois. Going into the 2014 elections, both the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois State Senate are considered safe Democratic, but if the governor's office turns red, Illinois would lose its trifecta status. Learn more about the state's most competitive legislative races on the battleground chambers page.


Running mates listed together in order of "Governor/Lieutenant Governor"

General election

Democratic Party Pat Quinn (Incumbent)/Paul Vallas[3]
Republican Party Bruce Rauner/Evelyn Sanguinetti[4]
Libertarian Party Chad Grimm/Alex Cummings[5][6]

Lost in the primary

Democratic Party Tio Hardiman/Brunell Donald[7][7][8]
Republican Party Bill Brady/Maria Rodriguez[9][10]
Republican Party Kirk Dillard/Jil Tracy - State Senator[11][12]
Republican Party Dan Rutherford/Steve Kim - State Treasurer[13][14]

Failed to qualify

Green Party Scott Summers/Bob Pritchett, Jr.[15]
Constitution Party Michael Oberline/Don Stone[16]
Independent Michael Hawkins/Kimberly Kusch[17]


Primary election

Democratic primary

Governor and Lt. Governor of Illinois, Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngPat Quinn & Paul Vallas Incumbent 71.9% 316,746
Tio Hardiman & Brunell Donald 28.1% 123,918
Total Votes 440,664
Election Results Via:The Associated Press. Vote totals above are unofficial and reflect 100% precincts reporting.

Republican primary

Governor and Lt. Governor of Illinois, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Bill Brady & Maria Rodriguez 15.1% 123,109
Kirk Dillard & Jil Tracy 37.3% 304,094
Green check mark transparent.pngBruce Rauner & Evelyn Sanguinetti 40.1% 327,289
Dan Rutherford & Steve Kim 7.5% 61,609
Total Votes 816,101
Election Results Via:The Associated Press. Vote totals above are unofficial and reflect 100% precincts reporting.

Race background

Challenges for Gov. Quinn

Current incumbent Pat Quinn, a Democrat who went from lieutenant governor to governor following Rod Blagojevich's 2009 impeachment, is facing re-election in 2014. Quinn ran for, and won, a full term in 2010 and is running for another four years in November 2014. According to multiple outside ratings, Quinn is among the most vulnerable governors in the 2014 electoral cycle.[18]

Quinn's 2010 running mate and incumbent Lt. Gov Sheila Simon (D) announced in February 2013 that she would not run for re-election in 2014. Simon said she wanted to seek a new office that would allow her to have a "greater impact," and later declared her candidacy for state comptroller.[19][20] Simon's thinly veiled swipe at the office's impact was followed shortly thereafter by the Illinois House of Representatives' approval of a proposal seeking to eliminate the position of lieutenant governor altogether by constitutional amendment. In order for the measure to be passed, it must win approval of both the State Senate and Illinois voters. If the proposal is approved in a statewide public vote, the office will remain intact for one final term following the 2014 election.[21] Quinn said he wanted “a people person” to replace Simon, and ultimately settled on former Chicago public schools chief Paul Vallas.[22]

The 2014 electoral cycle marked the first time in Illinois history that candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor ran on a single ticket in the primary election phase. Spurred by the 2010 election fiasco when Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Scott Lee Cohen had to drop out of the race after being arrested on charges of steroid use and domestic battery, the new joint ticket rule was enacted to support the notion of a critical governor-lieutenant governor partnership. In theory, allowing governor hopefuls to handpick their running mates for the primary would induce the campaigns to "better define their priorities for voters and cover more ground as election season gets underway."[22]

As of October 2014, Illinois is one of 14 Democratic state government trifectas. In such a blue state, it was expected that Quinn's biggest threat in 2014 would come from a fellow Democrat. The potential primary challenges for Quinn included William "Bill" Daley, a past U.S. Commerce Secretary and White House chief of staff, and attorney general Lisa Madigan. Quinn dodged both bullets as both potential challengers did not enter the race by September 2013. Madigan dropped her long anticipated bid in June 2013 in order to seek another term as attorney general.[23][24][25] In September 2013, after a promising first stretch of campaigning, Daley abruptly ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination.[26][25] Called "a member of Chicago's first political family," for his relation to two of Chicago's longest-reigning mayors, Daley's departure in particular was a coup for Quinn, whose apparently bleak re-election prospects improved markedly in his absence.[27]

Quinn is the fifth out of a total of 46 previous Illinois lieutenant governors to have succeeded to the governorship mid-term. As governor, Quinn has emphasized improving the state government's ethical standards and protecting public-sector labor unions. His tenure thus far has been marred by steep, deeply unpopular budget cuts and tax increases stemming from long-term state debt among other issues that have factored into his status among the least popular governors facing re-election in 2014.[28]


Bruce Rauner earned the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune prior to the general election.[29] The Chicago Tribune traditionally endorses Republican candidates for statewide and national office, with the notable exception of the paper's endorsement for Barack Obama (D) in the 2008 presidential election.[30]

Third-party candidates

Quinn will defend his seat against Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm. There were three other third party tickets in race, led by Michael Oberline (Constitution) Scott Summers (Green) and Michael Hawkins (Independent), until an August 22 petition challenge ruling by the Illinois State Board of Elections disqualified their respective parties from appearing on the November 4 ballot. It will be the first time in a decade that the Libertarian Party, which survived the signature challenge, will be the only minor party to compete for Illinois statewide office in the general election.[31]

Primary review, cross-party vote phenomenon

On September 3, 2013, individuals aiming to qualify for a slot on the March 2014 primary ballot began gathering signatures. The filing period for major party primary candidates ended on December 2, 2013, with only one Democrat, Tio Hardiman, filing to go up against Quinn. On the Republican end, candidates included state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state treasurer Dan Rutherford and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner. Early polls showed Rutherford as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, but Rauner rocketed ahead of the pack by November 2013 and maintained a 15-point average lead up to the March primary, which he won.[32]

A newcomer to politics, Rauner achieved the name recognition he needed to overcome his more established opponents with the help of massive campaign spending totaling nearly $14 million, including $6 million of his own money—the highest amount a candidate has ever spent on his own primary campaign for governor in Illinois.[33][34]

Unofficial results from the March 18 primaries revealed some steep deviations from typical voting behaviors recorded in past elections. Based on the breakdown of votes in the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries provided by the Chicago Tribune on election night, Ballot Access News analyzed what appeared to be a spectacularly low turnout of Democratic voters (438,112 votes) in the party's nominally contested primary. They detected that hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters must have taken advantage of the state's mixed-hybrid primary system to vote the Republican ballot instead of their own. Under Illinois' primary rules, voters can change parties each year but must declare a party affiliation at the polls. Depending on which party is chosen, the voter will then be counted as registered for that party. Voters may change party affiliation at polls or caucus.[35]

The mass cross-over by Democrats was linked to one specific issue highlighted in this year's GOP governor's race: government employee unions. Most of the Democrats who participated in the Republican primary did so in order to ensure Kirk Dillard, who has sided with the unions in the state senate, would lose to Bruce Rauner, who has promised to curtail union influence.[36]

In Illinois, the last time more votes were cast in the Republican than the Democratic gubernatorial primary was 1986; not since the 1940s have so few votes been cast in a Democratic gubernatorial primary election. Compared to the last five Illinois gubernatorial elections, there was no significant spike in Republican votes this year, indicating the trend reversal was caused by a tremendous drop in Democratic gubernatorial primary votes cast.[36]


Debate media

October 9 debate
October 9 debate

Bruce Rauner (R) and Pat Quinn (D) shared barbs over past executive experiences during a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of Illinois and WTVP. Quinn criticized Rauner as a political novice who had not been effective at turning around businesses as an equity investor. He cited bankruptcy proceedings for a nursing home operator run by Rauner's firm that was sued for wrongful deaths as signs of "businesses that went wrong" under the Republican candidate's watch. Rauner responded by pointing to poor state management of a $54.5 million anti-violence grant that has been under investigation by federal officials. The Republican candidate claimed that Quinn and state Democrats used the funds to shore up African American votes in the state, while Quinn argued that he eliminated the program when irregularities were brought to his attention.[37]

Quinn asserted that the state's economic fortunes improved in the past four years, with increases in jobs throughout the state and decreased unemployment. Rauner repeatedly used the term "failure" to describe Quinn's gubernatorial experience, claiming that "a small group of Chicago machine politicians" led the state down the wrong path.[37]


General election
All candidates

Governor of Illinois: All candidates
Poll Pat Quinn* (D) Bruce Rauner (R)Chad Grimm (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
We Ask America/Reboot Illinois
September 2, 2014
Global Strategy Group (D-DGA)
September 4-7, 2014
The Chicago Tribune/APC Research, Inc.
September 3-12, 2014
We Ask America/Reboot Illinois
October 6, 2014
Early & Often/We Ask America
October 8, 2014
Southern Illinois University
September 23-October 15, 2014
AVERAGES 42.8% 41.01% 5.48% 10.39% +/-3.37 884.67
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

**Incumbency is denoted by asterisk (*)

Quinn vs. Rauner

Governor of Illinois: Pat Quinn vs. Bruce Rauner
Poll Pat Quinn* (D) Bruce Rauner (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
April 9-10, 2014
We Ask America/Reboot Illinois
June 10-11, 2014
We Ask America/Capitol Fax
July 8, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
July 29-30, 2014
Gravis Marketing/Human Events (R)
August 4-5, 2014
We Ask America/Chicago Sun Times
August 6, 2014
Garin-Hart-Yang (D)
August 12-14, 2014
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
August 18-September 2, 2014
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
September 20-October 1, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
October 20-22, 2014
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
October 16-23, 2014
AVERAGES 41.27% 46% 11.27% +/-3.26 1,709.64
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

**Incumbency is denoted by asterisk (*)

Republican Primary

Illinois Governor - 2014 Republican Primary
Poll Bill Brady Kirk DillardBruce RaunerDan RutherfordUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Capitol Fax/We AskAmericaPoll
June 20, 2013
November 26, 2013
Chicago Tribune/WGN
February 2-8, 2014
February 25, 2014
Chicago Tribune/WGN
March 1-5, 2014
March 4, 2014
March 11, 2014
March 16, 2014
AVERAGES 17.09% 17.48% 35.02% 11.83% 18.46% +/-3.17 1,068
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

**Due to the nature of the comparison, a placeholder figure of 0% is assigned to candidates not included in any given match-up round

Illinois Governor - Early Republican Primary 2014
Poll Dan Rutherford Bill BradyBruce RaunerKirk DillardDan ProftMargin of ErrorSample Size
Battleground Polling
(May 27, 2013)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

November 2012

Public Policy Polling surveyed 500 registered Illinois voters through live telephone interviews from November 26 to 28, 2012. The respondents were given a series of hypothetical match-ups between Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and three potential Republican candidates, and asked which of the two candidates they would vote for in the 2014 election. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent. [38]

Hypothetical match-ups for Governor of Illinois
Kirk DillardDan RutherfordAaron Schock
Percent of the vote44%43%39%
Pat Quinn's percent of the vote37%39%40%

Campaign media

General election

Democratic PartyPat Quinn & Paul Vallas

Pat Quinn ad: Bruce Rauner "Twice"

Pat Quinn ad: Loved Ones

Pat Quinn ad: Bruce Rauner "Tax Plan"

Republican PartyBruce Rauner & Evelyn Sanguinetti

Bruce Rauner ad: Corruption

Bruce Rauner ad: Hope

Primary election

Democratic PartyPat Quinn & Paul Vallas

Democratic PartyTio Hardiman & Brunell Donald


Republican Party Kirk Dillard & Jil Tracy


Republican PartyBill Brady & Maria Rodriguez

Republican PartyBruce Rauner & Evelyn Sanguinetti

"Nuts" - posted 4/4/14

"Beautiful Thing" - posted 4/28/14

"Principle" - posted 4/28/14

"Wrong Direction" - posted 4/28/14

"Upside Down" - posted 6/11/13

"Back To Work" - posted 6/11/13

"Snow Globe" - posted 12/2013

Republican PartyDan Rutherford & Steve Kim

Ad spending

The Wesleyan Media Project published a report on September 30, 2014, highlighting spending on gubernatorial races from September 12-25. This report found that Democratic and Republican groups spent a total of $46.84 million on TV ads in 15 states with gubernatorial elections. The following chart details the group's findings including spending amounts and number of ads:[39]

Note: A bolded number indicates the highest total for this category. A number in italics is the lowest total for this category.

Spending on TV ads, September 12-25, 2014
State Total # of ads  % Democratic-leaning ads  % GOP-leaning ads Total spending-Democratic leaning (in millions of $) Total spending-GOP leaning (in millions of $)
Colorado 2,460 83.1 16.9 1.35 0.39
Connecticut 2,312 61.7 38.3 1.48 0.89
Florida 20,111 38.5 61.5 4.07 6.64
Georgia 4,625 51.1 48.9 1.43 0.99
Illinois 7,793 63.5 36.5 4.17 3.5
Iowa 2,134 47.5 52.5 0.25 0.38
Kansas 5,024 45.7 54.3 0.85 1.17
Maine 3,281 42.3 57.7 0.46 0.32
Michigan 6,767 33.9 66.1 1.14 2.3
Minnesota 1,974 83.9 16.1 0.65 0.29
New York 4,926 61 39 2.18 0.88
Pennsylvania 3,263 50.9 49.1 1.58 1.23
South Carolina 2,883 39.1 60.9 0.33 0.38
Texas 10,330 33.4 66.6 2.24 2.93
Wisconsin 7,374 63.3 36.7 1.36 1.01
TOTALS 85,257 48.2 51.8 23.54 23.3

Past elections


Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngPat Quinn & Sheila Simon Incumbent 46.8% 1,745,219
     Republican Bill Brady & Jason Plummer 45.9% 1,713,385
     Independent Scott Lee Cohen & Baxter Swilley 3.6% 135,705
     Green Rich Whitney & Don Crawford 2.7% 100,756
     Libertarian Lex Green & Ed Ruthledge 0.9% 34,681
     None Write-in 0% 243
Total Votes 3,729,989
Election Results Via: Illinois State Board of Elections

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
December 2, 2013 Last day of petition filing for established political parties
January 16, 2014 Last day to file a Declaration of Intent to be a write-in candidate
March 18, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
November 25, 2014 Last day for canvassing election results by proper canvassing board
January 12, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials in general election

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Illinois gubernatorial election News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link

Illinois News Network stories


  1. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  2. Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago, "2014 Primary: Frequently Asked Questions," accessed January 2, 2014
  3., "Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn taps Paul Vallas for running mate," November 8, 2013
  4. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate list," December 3, 2013
  5. Independent Political Report, "Libertarian Party of Illinois holds annual state convention," September 23, 2013
  6. Independent Political Report, "Libertarian Party of Illinois holds annual state convention," September 23, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tio Hardiman for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed December 3, 2013
  8. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate list," December 3, 2013
  9. Brady/Rodriguez for Governor/Lt. Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed December 3, 2013
  10. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate list," December 3, 2013
  11. Dillard/Tracy for Governor/Lt. Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed December 3, 2013
  12. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate list," December 3, 2013
  13. The Southern, "Rutherford announces gov. campaign in Southern Illinois," June 2, 2013
  14. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate list," December 3, 2013
  15. Illinois Green Party, "Meet Scott Summers, candidate for governor," accessed March 18, 2014
  16. Independent Political Report, "Constitution Party of Illinois nominates statewide candidates," March 24, 2014
  17. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate Detail - General Election 11/04/2014," accessed August 21, 2014
  18. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  19. Chicago Tribune, "Simon will not run again for lieutenant governor," February 13, 2013
  20. Chicago Magazine, "What Happens After Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon Quits Pat Quinn’s Team," March 26, 2013
  21. The Chicago Tribune, "House votes to eliminate lieutenant governor post," April 12, 2013
  22. 22.0 22.1 CBS Local - Chicago, "2014 Governor Candidates To Choose Running Mates," August 24, 2013
  23. Capitol Fax, "This just in… Lisa Madigan announces re-election bid," July 15, 2013
  24. Governing, "William Daley Considering Bid for Illinois Governor," December 21, 2012
  25. 25.0 25.1, "Daley files paperwork for governor run," June 10, 2013
  26. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named dropout
  27. New Jersey Herald, "Daley: Exit from race doesn't mean I couldn't win," September 17, 2013
  28. St. Louis Today, "Illinois Gov. Quinn 2nd least popular incumbent going into 2014," April 9, 2013
  29. Chicago Tribune, "For governor: The Tribune endorses Bruce Rauner, to revive Illinois," October 10, 2014
  30. Chicago Sun-Times, "Chicago Tribune endorses Obama. First Democrat to get Trib presidential nod," October 17, 2008
  31. Ballot Access News, "Libertarian Party Statewide Slate Will Appear on Illinois Ballot," August 22, 2014
  32., "Capitol Fax/We Ask America Poll - Poll shows Rauner movement," July 8, 2013
  33. Crain's Chicago Business, "How Bruce Rauner won the GOP primary," March 19, 2014
  34. Peoria Public Radio, "How the self-funding of Rauner's campaign is impacting the race for Governor," March 12, 2014
  35. Chicago Tribune, "Election Calendar, Primary Results," last updated March 18, 2014
  36. 36.0 36.1 Ballot Access News, "Shockingly Low Turnout in Illinois Democratic Primary Suggests Many Democrats Voted in Republican Primary," March 20, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 Chicago Tribune, "Quinn, Rauner try to create fear about the other guy during debate," accessed October 15, 2014
  38. Public Policy Polling, "Quinn in deep trouble, Dems favor Madigan," November 29, 2012
  39. Wesleyan Media Project, "GOP Groups Keeping Senate Contests Close," September 30, 2014