Democratic Governor Pat Quinn’s Loss The Headline For A Rough Election Night In Illinois


Nine hour voting lines in my hometown city of Chicago wasn’t the only unfortunate news coming out of the Land of Lincoln this morning. For the first time since 1998, with 99 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Illinois has a Republican Governor. Although he has declined to issue a concession, Pat Quinn remains 180,000 votes behind his opponent with early, mail-in and provisional votes left to be counted. I wish I could share Quinn’s desperate optimism.

If there is a bright side to the situation, Quinn is the first Illinois Chief Executive since the late 1990s to anticipate a life in the private sector, rather than prison. He was first sworn into office in 2009 after the humiliating (for the state and its voters) impeachment of Democratic predecessor Rod Blagojevich. Quinn was elected to his own full term in 2010 following a tough battle with Republican State Senator Bill Brady, and despite a low approval rating.

Having survived life in the lowlights as Blagojevich’s Lieutenant Governor and a 2011 “Illinois is Broke” viral and traditional media campaign regarding the poor condition of the state’s finances, social services and pension funding plans, there was good reason to believe that Quinn could tough it out this round. In a report this morning, the Chicago Tribune describes Governor-elect Bruce Rauner as “untested…a wealthy equity investor making his first bid for public office.” His inexperience didn’t stop the conservative-leaning paper from publicly endorsing the candidate on October 10 however.

A late October scandal also seemed to bode well for the incumbent’s chances of holding onto office. Mid last month, Republican News Watch reported that the Tribune’s liberal rival, “the Chicago Sun-Times published a devastating article which includes alarming allegations that Bruce Rauner himself personally threatened a female executive and her family.” Subsequently, writes Doug Ibendahl, “The newspaper has been reminding readers for three years that it’s not in the endorsement business anymore. But they’re making an exception for Rauner this year, and the governor’s race is the only race in which they endorse.”

Things that make Illinois voters go hmmm….compared to the relatively benign Pat Quinn. But perhaps that was Quinn’s ultimate undoing. The experienced, dull bureaucrat failed to offer voters enough striking change. A March 2014 Crain’s Chicago Business article entitled State in deepest financial hole ever put it succinctly: “Illinois is far and away in worse shape than any state in the country, although the red ink is flowing more slowly.”

So instead, Illini voters get the untried one percenter. One of the national electorate’s great failings is an inability to connect that a Chief Executive from any party only has so much power when faced with a majority opposition. In this case, Rauner is going to have to try to work with a Democratic-led State Senate and House, the very same people “he vilified during the campaign as part of a ‘corrupt’ political system controlling Springfield.” The $46.5 million that Rauner is reported to have spent on his victory isn’t going to amount to much after he takes office.

It could have been worse. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan successfully fended off Republican efforts to infiltrate Democrats’ veto-proof hold on the state legislature, and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D) was comfortably re-elected to a record fourth term. But with Rauner set to try to unleash a predictable anti-tax agenda in an already broke state, frustrated voters who decided to send Pat Quinn a message last night are reminded that wishes come true are often less enjoyable in the experience.

24 Replies to “Democratic Governor Pat Quinn’s Loss The Headline For A Rough Election Night In Illinois”

  1. We all know that these votes were rigged. I live in Chicago and we are a Democratic city. Poling place judges didn’t show up, machines didn’t work and some places were not opened and people didn’t leave these places when they finally opened, until 3 and 4 am. threatening call were made to people, I got a few of these calls myself and short of telling the people on the phone to kiss this, I was very angry that someone was trying to threaten me to not vote. I don’t take kindly to actions such as this. Rauner is a sleaze bag if I ever saw one. THIS has never happened in Illinois, never. Madigan made sure that we had assistant judges to take care of this but it was too late. People went home. 600.000 voters disenfranchised and couldn’t vote in Georgia. Republicans are lower than snakes. Rauner went to Black churches here and threw his promises and his money around, two pastors took the bait. I swear, desperate…But we still have Dems in power.

  2. I was born and raise in the CHI and I know the machine is no more but Come on man if what you say is true then maybe they wanted Rauner to win. Emanuel is a snake and since his challenger who IMO would have won if not for health reasons maybe some deals were made.

    I don’t know the relationship between Quinn and Emanuel but it would be interesting to find out

  3. The Governors office was bought and paid for by Rauner. He got to a couple of black churches here, who were not doing so good, and had them doing commercials for him. One church got vandalized because of that… A day and a half ago, check it out…The Governor was up by 50%, what do you think? exactly…No one showed up to open the doors for voters, we had assistant judges, who some said needed to be trained…This shite was off the rails. Some voting places had machines that didn’t work, and people stood outside waiting for 8-9 hours, and once inside had to wait another 6 hours. Lisa Madigan did all she could and made the places open that refused to open. And it got so late a lot of people could not wait. Damn set-up.. Emanuel was with Quinn. You know how the people are here. This mofo Rauner will be fired next election. This was an undercover takeover..sneaky. And you know the media was bought and paid for you… could hear it…

  4. The Repubs were cheering and partying before all of the votes were in. That is why Quinn didn’t concede until now. We who pay attention, know what went on.

  5. Illinois has an unfunded pension deficit of $100 million dollars. Why is the loss of Quinn a surprise? Those of us who thought we had a pension have been ignored by both parties for years. I thought I could retire in 10 years, now it looks like I will have to work until I am 70 and am still wondering what that promised pension will look like?

  6. And you think Romney lite give a damn about your pensions? Your ill informed ass better hope he and the rest of his party don’t take your Social Security.

  7. So you would be willing to gamble on your retirement income (promised to you by governors that most have ended up in prison) and just accept that maybe, sometime, they would be willing to actually have a honest conversation about the status of pensions? Do you have any comprehension about what it is like to contribute and rely on a pension that is evaporating before your eyes???

  8. I have more confidence that I will receive social security than my full pension benefits from illinois

  9. Yeah I wouldnt hold my breath on that one. But then again no government agency should be in the business if retirement funds

  10. So in our place (the millions who have paid into a pension fund that has evaporated) who do you trust???

  11. All I have to say is we are lucky in Illinois that there’s a veto proof house and senate. I don`t trust this Romney-type as far as I can throw him. If this yo-ho try’s to pull that trickle down crap here Mike Madagin will mop the floor with his ass.

  12. Well there is a choice. Raise income taxes and corporate taxes or cut benefits. Since the Illinois Constitution forbids cutting benefits then taxes will have to be raised.

    But this problem has been going on since the 90’s so you cant entirely blame Quinn.

  13. Upon further reading the pension has been underfunded since the 40’s
    But in Illinois, the state’s pension contributions are discretionary, so governors and lawmakers can basically contribute whatever they feel like. And lawmakers have been ignoring guys like Goldstein for decades.

    “I have some reports from these pension commissions that complain about the underfunding back as early as 1945,” he said, before plucking a shopworn paperback report from the shelf of his downtown Chicago office.

  14. I thought Quinn might pull this off especially with the collar counties (I live in Springfield) but I believe the last minute ads by Rauner to state retirees about Quinn wanting to cut their pensions worked. Retirees (I am one) were pissed and I bet more than just a couple of them remembered that ad before they voted. Current employees hoping to retire at a certain age now have to wait. Many retirees live on a very modest income and the slightest cut could hurt. Rauner is definitely not the answer but I am wondering if the vote was more against Quinn than for Rauner. It’s shameful Dems cannot field a decent gubernatorial candidate. Quinn was flawed from the very beginning. I even had union members canvassing my neighborhood urging people to vote for Quinn, “even though he isn’t the best”. Now that says something.

  15. You still have your retirement, liar. I know plenty of people who retired from the state and they still get their pension. You may not get as much, but you’re still set for life.

  16. I hope. The long time Illinois pols like Madigan aren’t necessarily the guys who will work FOR the rest of us, and Illinois is a tough state.

  17. I, too, “had” to vote for Quinn just because I am scared to death of Bruce Rauner, but….why can’t we find a GOOD Democrat to run….?! I am sick of the old “machine” and the good ol’ boys club…the graft and the corruption that comes with folks just staying in the job too long happy with the same old-same old. Hopefully this may be something of a wake-up call

  18. I thought you knew about the combine? The good thing is Romney lite is not part of it. The bad thing there is still the combine

  19. The pension reform bill is in court and will likely be found unconstitutional.

    Any Union member who voted for Rauner will certainly regret it. Rauner tends to take multiple sides on issues…way beyond any flip flopper I have known.

    However, One of his stances was to fire all the state workers and rehire them as non union workers. Another has been to freeze our pensions and create a 401k for us. We do have the law on our side which would makes actions like this impossible.

    More than likely we will be threatened with lay offs due to the budget and probably he will try to privatize our jobs. That is his MO as a venture capitalist. Until it happens we cannot know what he will do.

    Rauner declared himself to be an enemy of state workers and unions early on. It was a mistake for his campaign so he softened his language later. The only issue I know Bruce Rauner stands for is getting elected.

  20. If the pension fund is depleted the state is required to pay the retirees from state funds.(Eric Madiar)

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