The Illinois gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn (D) ran for re-election. Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, however, opted to run unsuccessfully for state comptroller in 2014 rather than seek re-election with Quinn. Quinn was widely recognized as one of the most, if not the most, vulnerable governors facing re-election in the 2014 electoral cycle.
Quinn chose ex-Chicago public schools chief Paul Vallas to replace Simon as his running mate for lieutenant governor. The pair faced one set of primary challengers and easily scored the Democratic nomination in the March 18 election. Although heavily contested, the Republican primary race also concluded without upset, as decisive front-runner and wealthy venture capitalist Bruce Rauner defeated three tickets--led by state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady and state treasurer Dan Rutherford--to win the party's nod. Rauner's primary election victory alongside running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti cost almost $14 million, including $6 million from his own pocket, the most any gubernatorial candidate has contributed to his own primary campaign in Illinois history.
The Illinois gubernatorial race was heated contest between Quinn and Rauner, with polls showing razor-thin margins between the two candidates. The rivaling major-party tickets also faced the Libertarian ticket of Chad Grimm and Alex Cummings on the November ballot. It was believed that Grimm's share of the vote could impact the outcome of the general election based on polling details available.
In the end, Quinn was unable to defend his post against Rauner, who won the election by a margin of 5 percentage points. Simon did not fare any better than her former running mate; she lost her bid for state comptroller to Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka in the general election, which took place on November 4, 2014.