Kirk Dillard

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Kirk Dillard
Kirk Dillard.jpg
Illinois State Senate District 24
In office
1993 - Present
Term ends
January 14, 2015
Years in position 22
Assistant Minority Leader
Base salary$67,836/year
Per diem$111/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionMarch 18, 2014
First elected1992
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Judge, Illinois Court of Claims
1987 - 1990
Bachelor'sWestern Illinois University (1977)
J.D.DePaul University (1982)
Date of birthJune 1, 1955
Place of birthChicago, Illinois
ProfessionPartner, Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Kirk Dillard (b. June 1, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois) is a Republican member of the Illinois State Senate, representing District 24. He was first elected to the chamber in 1992.

Dillard ran for Governor of Illinois in 2014.[1] He lost the Republican primary election on March 18 on a ticket with state Rep. Jil Tracy.[2] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Dillard earned his Bachelor's from Western Illinois in 1977 and his J.D. from DePaul Law in 1982. His professional experience includes working as Chief of Staff to Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, Legislative Affairs director to Illinois Governor James "Big Jim" Thompson, and Illinois state chairman for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).[3]

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Dillard served on the following committees:

Illinois Committee Assignments, 2013
Committee of the Whole
Executive Appointments
State Government & Veterans Affairs
Legislative Ethics Commission


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Dillard served on these committees:
Illinois Committee Assignments, 2011
Assignments, Ranking Minority Member
Committee of the Whole
Criminal Law
Judiciary, Ranking Minority Member
Licensed Activities
Legislative Ethics


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Dillard served on these committees:[4]



See also: Illinois gubernatorial election, 2014

Dillard ran for Governor of Illinois in 2014 alongside his choice of lieutenant gubernatorial running-mate, state Rep. Jil Tracy. He lost in the Republican primary election on March 18, 2014.[5] [1] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Governor and Lt. Governor of Illinois, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBruce Rauner & Evelyn Sanguinetti 40.1% 328,934
Kirk Dillard & Jil Tracy 37.2% 305,120
Bill Brady & Maria Rodriguez 15.1% 123,708
Dan Rutherford & Steve Kim 7.6% 61,948
Total Votes 819,710
Election Results via Illinois State Board of Elections.



  • Term limits:
"By shrinking the Senate, [Rauner] puts more power in the hands of Mike Madigan...And by shrinking Senate seats, and thereby greatly increasing the size of Senate districts, rural Illinoisans will suffer from being far from their senator. Bruce’s proposal decimates downstate Illinois."[6]
  • Right to work:
"While job creation is our top priority, the political realities of Illinois make Right-to-Work legislation counter-productive. There are other ways to create jobs and get the state’s economy moving, and that’s what we’re focused on."[7]
  • Corporate incentives:
"While we may need to continue to offer some incentives in the very short term, I want to make sure that small businesses have the same opportunity as the big guy for the kinds of advantages they need to become entrepreneurs."[8]
  • Progressive tax:
"Illinois has a spending problem. We don’t have a revenue problem." "In the states that have a progressive income tax we’re not talking about taxing just the rich. … If you make $55,000 or more in the states that have a progressive income tax, that would be a tax increase over the Illinois income tax rate which is supposed to be in effect next year." "One advantage Illinois has always had is a low, flat income tax."[9]
Challenges for Gov. Quinn

Current incumbent Pat Quinn, a Democrat who went from lieutenant governor to governor following Rod Blagojevich's 2009 impeachment, won a full term in 2010 and lost his bid for re-election in 2014 to Republican Bruce Rauner. According to multiple outside ratings, Quinn was among the most vulnerable governors in the 2014 electoral cycle.[10]

Incumbent Lt. Gov Sheila Simon (D) announced in February 2013 that she would not run for re-election in 2014 alongside Quinn, her 2010 running mate. 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.[11][12] 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, effective after the 2018 election. In order for the measure to be passed, it would need the approval of both the State Senate and Illinois voters.[13] Quinn said he wanted “a people person” to replace Simon, and ultimately settled on former Chicago public schools chief Paul Vallas.[14]

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 intended to increase the importance of the lieutenant governor based on its partnership with the governor. In theory, allowing gubernatorial candidates to handpick their running mates for the primary would cause campaigns to "better define their priorities for voters and cover more ground as election season gets underway."[14]

As of May 2015, Illinois is one of 7 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 removed themselves from contention by September 2013. Madigan dropped her long anticipated bid in June 2013 in order to seek another term as attorney general.[15][16][17] In September 2013, after a promising first stretch of campaigning, Daley abruptly ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination.[18][17] 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.[19]

Quinn was the fifth out of a total of 46 previous Illinois lieutenant governors to have succeeded to the governorship mid-term. As governor, Quinn emphasized improving the state government's ethical standards and protecting public-sector labor unions. His tenure was marred by steep, deeply unpopular budget cuts and tax increases stemming from long-term state debt among other issues that contributed to his status among the least popular governors facing re-election in 2014.[20]


Bruce Rauner earned the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune prior to the general election.[21] 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.[22]

Third-party candidates

Quinn and Rauner ran 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 was the first time in a decade that the Libertarian Party, which survived the signature challenge, was the only minor party to compete for Illinois statewide office in the general election.[23]

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 front-runner 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.[24]

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.[25][26]

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.[27]

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 sided with the unions in the state senate, would lose to Bruce Rauner, who promised to curtail union influence.[28]

In Illinois, the last time more votes were cast in the Republican than the Democratic gubernatorial primary was 1986; not since the 1940s had 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 in 2014, indicating the trend reversal was caused by a tremendous drop in Democratic gubernatorial primary votes cast.[28]


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
We Ask America
October 27-28, 2014
AVERAGES 43.75% 41.55% 5.49% 8.9% +/-3.31 1,090.71
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


See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2012

Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in District 24 in the 2012 election. Dillard defeated House incumbent Chris Nybo in the Republican primary on March 20, 2012 and defeated A. Ghani (D) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[29][30][31]

Illinois State Senate, District 24, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngKirk Dillard Incumbent 65.9% 68,220
     Democratic A. Ghani 34.1% 35,366
Total Votes 103,586
Illinois State Senate, District 24 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngKirk Dillard Incumbent 61.7% 19,287
Chris Nybo 38.3% 11,979
Total Votes 31,266


Dillard was endorsed by Family-Pac.[32]


2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[33]
Candidates Percentage
Adam Andrzekewski (R) 14.5%
Green check mark.jpg Bill Brady (R) 20.3%
Kirk Dillard (R) 20.2%
Andy McKenna (R) 19.3%
Dan Proft (R) 7.7%
Jim Ryan (R) 17.0%
Robert Schillerstorm (R) 1.0%
Total votes 767,485


On November 4, 2008, Republican Kirk Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate District 24. He ran unopposed receiving 80,766 votes.[34]

Illinois State Senate, District 24 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Kirk Dillard (R) 80,766

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Dillard is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Dillard raised a total of $5,938,665 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 17, 2013.[35]

Kirk Dillard's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Won $762,369
2010 Illinois Governor / Illinois State Senate, District 24* Defeated $2,799,407
2008 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Won $376,492
2006 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Won $394,354
2004 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Not up for election $365,876
2002 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Won $411,815
2000 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Not up for election $379,636
1998 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Won $246,384
1996 Illinois State Senate, District 24 Not up for election $202,332
Grand Total Raised $5,938,665
*In 2010, Dillard raised $2,416,439 for the Gubernatorial election, which he lost, and $382,968 for his Senate seat, which was not up for election.


Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $762,369.



Dillard lost the election for the Illinois Governor in 2010. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $2,416,439.

State Senate

Dillard was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $382,968.


Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $376,492.


Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $394,354.


Dillard was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 2004. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $365,876.


Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2002. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $411,815.


Dillard was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 2000. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $379,636.


Dillard won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 1998. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $246,384.


Dillard was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. During that election cycle, Dillard raised a total of $202.


State of the State response

In January 2014, Dillard responded to Governor Pat Quinn's 2014 State of the State address and Quinn's agenda for a new building program for Illinois, new early childhood education initiatives, and a higher minimum wage. Dillard criticized Quinn for not addressing the rate at which residents were leaving the state. “He didn’t tell us that Illinois is second in the nation in out-migration of people,” Dillard said. “Or that many surveys rate us the third worse run state in America."[36]


Illinois Opportunity Project

See also: Illinois Opportunity Project's Legislative Vote Card

The Illinois Opportunity Project, "an independent research and public policy enterprise that promotes legislative solutions in advance of free markets and free minds," annually releases its Legislative Vote Card, grading all members in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly on the basis of their support of "pro-growth economic policies that increase personal freedom and reign in expansive government."[37][38]


Dillard received a score of 87.50 out of 100 in 2012 for a grade of A- according to the IOP’s grading scale. His score was tied for the 13th highest among all 59 members of the Illinois State Senate included in the Vote Card.[38]


Kirk and his wife, Stephanie, have two children.

See also

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  1. 1.0 1.1 The Southern, "Rutherford announces gov. campaign in Southern Illinois," June 2, 2013
  2. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Candidate list," December 3, 2013
  3. State Chairmen ALEC
  4. Illinois General Assembly "List of Illinois Senate Committees," accessed July 28, 2009
  5. Public Policy Polling, "Quinn extremely unpopular, Madigan would start out favored," November 29, 2012
  6. Illinois News Network, "No agreement on term limits among gubernatorial candidates," October 8, 2013
  7. Illinois News Network, "GOP gubernatorial candidates differ on Right to Work," November 25, 2013
  8. Illinois News Network, "Corporate incentives and the candidates," February 25, 2014
  9. Illinois News Network, "Gubernatorial candidates and the progressive tax," February 28, 2014
  10. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  11. Chicago Tribune, "Simon will not run again for lieutenant governor," February 13, 2013
  12. Chicago Magazine, "What Happens After Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon Quits Pat Quinn’s Team," March 26, 2013
  13. The Chicago Tribune, "House votes to eliminate lieutenant governor post," April 12, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 CBS Local - Chicago, "2014 Governor Candidates To Choose Running Mates," August 24, 2013
  15. Capitol Fax, "This just in… Lisa Madigan announces re-election bid," July 15, 2013
  16. Governing, "William Daley Considering Bid for Illinois Governor," December 21, 2012
  17. 17.0 17.1, "Daley files paperwork for governor run," June 10, 2013
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named dropout
  19. New Jersey Herald, "Daley: Exit from race doesn't mean I couldn't win," September 17, 2013
  20. St. Louis Today, "Illinois Gov. Quinn 2nd least popular incumbent going into 2014," April 9, 2013
  21. Chicago Tribune, "For governor: The Tribune endorses Bruce Rauner, to revive Illinois," October 10, 2014
  22. Chicago Sun-Times, "Chicago Tribune endorses Obama. First Democrat to get Trib presidential nod," October 17, 2008
  23. Ballot Access News, "Libertarian Party Statewide Slate Will Appear on Illinois Ballot," August 22, 2014
  24., "Capitol Fax/We Ask America Poll - Poll shows Rauner movement," July 8, 2013
  25. Crain's Chicago Business, "How Bruce Rauner won the GOP primary," March 19, 2014
  26. Peoria Public Radio, "How the self-funding of Rauner's campaign is impacting the race for Governor," March 12, 2014
  27. Chicago Tribune, "Election Calendar, Primary Results," last updated March 18, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 Ballot Access News, "Shockingly Low Turnout in Illinois Democratic Primary Suggests Many Democrats Voted in Republican Primary," March 20, 2014
  29. Illinois State Board of Elections "Candidate List," December 5, 2011
  30. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Official 2012 Primary Results" accessed March 22, 2014
  31. Illinois State Board of Elections, “Official Vote - November 6, 2012 General Election,” accessed December 31, 2012
  32. Family-Pac, "Endorsements," accessed June 22, 2012
  33. Illinois State Board of Elections, "Vote Totals List: General Primary 2010" accessed July 7, 2010
  34. Illinois Senate election results for 2008
  35., "Dillard, Kirk W," accessed July 17, 2013
  36., "Illinois governor lays out ambitious agenda, forgets to mention how to pay for it," accessed February 6, 2014
  37. Illinois Opportunity Project, "The Project," accessed February 21, 2013
  38. 38.0 38.1 Illinois Opportunity Project, "Legislative Vote Card home page," accessed February 21, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Illinois Senate District 24
Succeeded by