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Democrat Pritzker Wins Governor's Race As Rauner Concedes

November 06, 2018 - 7:39 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Democrat J.B. Pritzker has won the election for Illinois governor, defeating first-term incumbent Bruce Rauner. 

Lieutenant Governor elect Juliana Stratton introduced J.B. Pritzker to a packed room inside the Marriott Marquis Chicago. Pritzker said he received a call from Bruce Rauner less than a half hour after the polls closed.

"I want to thank him for his service to this state over the last four years and I wish him and his family well," Pritzker said. 

He said Illinois is ready to reach its potential.

"Who we are is how we overcome our biggest challenges," he said. "Are you ready for the fight?"

He talked about healthcare, jobs, and immigration. He took a swipe at President Trump.

"This moment demands that Americans rededicate ourselves to not just the rights and privileges of citizenship, but to the responsibilities of it. And it demands that we reject red hat slogans and Twitter tirades," he said.

Pritzker will be inaugurated in January.  

Rauner, a Republican businessman, conceded the race to Pritzker.

He told his supporters at a campaign watch party in Downtown Chicago, "Now is the time to move forward. There is so much work to be done. We've made great progress in the last four years. We cannot let that progress end."

LIVE: Election Results For All Major Illinois Races

The contest was one of the first statewide races called Tuesday night. With only about 14 percent of precincts reporting at 8 p.m., Pritzker had 66 percent of the vote to Rauner's 28.5 percent, according to the Associated Press. 

The contentious, highly expensive contest saw Pritzker polling well ahead of incumbent Rauner in the race's last months. 

The governor's race was easily the most expensive in state history, and the second-most expensive in the country's history for a governor's race. Pritzker sunk over $161 million into his own campaign coffers, the most ever by a gubernatorial candidate. About $300 million was spent in the race between the two wealthy men.

Rauner won election in 2014, defeating incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn after promising to restore fiscal responsibility to the state. His first term in office was marked by a dramatic stalemate with the Democratic-led General Assembly. The state was without a budget for two years as Rauner battled House Speaker Mike Madigan over workers union rights and other issues. The General Assembly overrode Rauner's veto of the budget in 2017. 

READ: Candidate Profile of J.B. Pritzker

Pritzker, the billionaire businessman and an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, handedly won the Democratic primary over over State Rep. Daniel Biss and businessman Chris Kennedy. But his campaign was dogged by a wiretapped phone call between Pritzker and jailed Gov. Rod Blagjevich, in which Pritzker said he made "regrettable" comments about black politicians.

JB Pritzker Wins Governor's Race
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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