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Rauner And Pritzker To Face Off In November's Illinois Governor Race

Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois

After what’s thought to be one of the most expensive primaries in Illinois history, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic nominee for governor.  Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner won the Republican primary, narrowly beating his only opponent, state Representative Jeanne Ives.

Listen to the story: J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic nominee for governor.

Pritzker easily defeated rivals Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss, taking 46% of the vote.

The Hyatt hotel heir addressed supporters at a Marriott hotel in Chicago, where he immediately began attacking Gov. Bruce Rauner — who at that point had yet to win his own primary. “I’ve had enough of people like Donald Trump, politicians like Bruce Rauner who can never acknowledge a flaw, never offer an apology and never take responsibility for anything or anyone under their care,” he said.

Rauner was only three percentage points ahead of Ives when he declared victory. But that was before any media organizations had called the race. “The election in November will be a choice — a choice between someone who will stand up to the machine and someone who has long been part of it," he said referring to Pritzker and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Listen to the story: Governor Bruce Rauner won the Republican primary Tuesday night narrowly beating his only opponent, state Representative Jeanne Ives

Ives did not accept her loss until additional ballots were counted. In her concession speech, she talked about the importance of standing up for one's beliefs, even it meant taking on a sitting governor.“You know as I know, that Bruce Rauner had to be challenged in this election," she said.  "But today, the popular revolt against the political ruling class fell just a bit short.” 

Ives’ narrow loss comes despite being at a significant financial disadvantage, raising just four million dollars to Rauner’s $103 million. Like Ives, most of the Democratic candidates had to rely on donations. Pritzker was his only donor, pouring nearly $70 million into his primary campaign, while Rauner self-funded $58 million.

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.