Democrats save at least one Midwestern gubernatorial race
The Land of Lincoln is now the Land of Quinn.
By Eileen McGuire-Mahony
Springfield, ILLINOIS: Proving most of the major race trackers, and Ballotpedia's own picks, wrong, Illinois has elected Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn to a full term in his own right. Quinn succeeded to the office after ethics allegations cost Rod Blagojevich the job.
Quinn's challenger, Republican Bill Brady was slightly favored by most experts predicting the race. Instead of the decisive, if slim, victory that many were expecting, the race dragged on. Late on Thursday afternoon, approaching the 48 hour mark after polls closed for the 2010 midterms, it is instead Pat Quinn who will be sworn in next January.
With all precincts finally reporting, Quinn leads by 19,413 votes. With 3.7 ballots cast, his victory which has been called by the Associated Press, is by barely half a percent. Brady has declined to make a concession speech until all absentee ballots have been counted.
Adopted homestate of President Barack Obama, Illinois became a black eye for Democrats first when then-Gov. Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell the President's old Senate seat and more recently, as Republican Mark Kirk defeated Alexi Gianoulias in the U.S. Senate race. Salvaging the gubernatorial contest provides some solace to the Dems and gives them an advantage in a key state for the 2012 Presidential cycle.
Illinois going blue means the Republicans cannot sweep the block of Midwest governorships up in 2010. They have victories in Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all of which are pick-ups for the GOP. Minnesota is currently headed for recount with less than 9,000 votes separating Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer.
Elsewhere, Vermont and Connecticut are still being fought. Excluding contested races, of the 37 gubernatorial races, Republicans have won 22, Democrats, 10, and Independents, one race in Rhode Island. This brings the current balance of power to 29, 17, and 1 governorship(s), respectively.