Billionaire businessman Bruce Rauner won a competitive Republican gubernatorial primary election in Illinois on Tuesday, taking the fight to embattled incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., in what promises to be one of the most expensive gubernatorial races in the country.
Brauner, a hedge-fund manager, fended off a strong challenge from state Sen. Kirk Dillard to claim the nomination, and he immediately began savaging Quinn in his victory speech.
"[Quinn] has jacked up our real estate taxes while our home values were going down," Rauner said, per the Chicago Tribune. "[Quinn] has shredded our social services safety net and he's defunded our schools while thousands of school children are trapped in failing schools. He's a failure. We're gonna get him gone."
National Republicans believed Rauner, with his ability to self-fund his bid and his more moderate positions on social issues, was the candidate best positioned to oust Quinn, but the incumbent has prevailed in tough spots before. On Tuesday, after easily clearing his own primary, the governor showcased an aggressive brand of populism, conspicuously promising to fight for an economy that serves everyone, not just the wealthy.
"I'm here to fight for working people who deserve a fair shake," said Quinn. "I'm here to fight for students all across Illinois to make sure they have a good public education. Not just for the elite and the well-connected. Education is for everybody. And I'm here today to fight for an economy that works for everyone not just for the billionaires but for everybody."
Ultimately, Quinn's fate will depend on whether Democrats' deep advantage in Illinois can offset his dismal approval ratings, which have hovered in the 30s or below for several years.
Some other primary results to note in Illinois: Jim Oberweis, a state senator and multimillionaire dairy owner, defeated businessman Doug Truax in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Oberweis will fight an uphill battle against Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in the fall.
And in Illinois' 13th congressional district, former Miss America Erika Harold lost her primary campaign to unseat freshman GOP Rep. Rodney Davis, mustering only 41.2 percent to the incumbent's 54.6 percent.