Updated 11/5/10 – 6:42 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Just hours after his Republican opponent conceded the race, Gov. Pat Quinn said he was honored that voters elected him to a full term, nearly two years after he took over for his ousted predecessor, but noted “we have a lot of work to do.”
“We have many challenges ahead, this is an awesome job. I’m greatly honored to hold the job of governor,” Quinn said outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Thursday afternoon. “We have a lot of work to do in Illinois and I’m ready to do it.”
A few hours earlier, his Republican rival, Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady, conceded the race and congratulated Quinn on winning the election. Quinn became governor in January 2009, when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office.
Brady said he hoped to work with Quinn to improve the state.
“Illinois families need leadership and it is time after a bitter election that our leaders come together and unite for the families of Illinois,” Brady said.
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Quinn has invited Brady to sit down together for lunch at Manny’s Deli in Chicago to bury the hatchet after a heated campaign.
“We could sit down and have lunch and work together for the common good of Illinois,” Quinn said, noting that Republican U.S. Sen.-elect Mark Kirk and his defeated Democratic rival Alexi Giannoulias set the sat down for a beer the day after their own heated election battle.
“I think that this is something that we should do all the time. We may have differences, strong differences on policy issues, but we are all Americans we’re all Illinoisans and we have to work together for the common good at all times,” Quinn added.
Brady said Quinn didn’t specify if he’d pay for lunch, but said he’d accept.
“It’s a great state. We’ll make it even better,” Brady said. “That’s what elections are about.”
Asked how he would start addressing the state’s $13 billion deficit, Quinn said he would begin by cutting costs and working to bring new jobs to Illinois.
“We have to get more jobs and better paying jobs,” Quinn said.
Though Brady said he was willing to work with Quinn on the budget, he still expressed disagreement with one of Quinn’s proposals. Quinn has called previously for an income tax hike to balance the ballooning budget.
“I continue to believe that we cannot raise taxes on the backs of hardworking families,” Brady said.
Brady was joined by his running mate Jason Plummer and family when he delivered his concession speech. Plummer fought back tears as he foreshadowed Brady’s announcement by saying he would work with “(lieutenant governor nominee) Sheila Simon and Governor Quinn.”
Brady held out earlier this week, waiting for provisional, absentee and military ballots despite a five-figure deficit to Quinn with all precincts reporting. But finally Friday, Brady’s team concluded there were no other options other than to concede, because there were not enough votes out there to make up the difference
“We came to the conclusion that Governor Quinn won this race,” he said. “He worked hard for it, and we can’t take away his efforts and his endeavor.”
Quinn himself has not declared victory, but he is calling his lead over Brady “insurmountable.”
Speaking Thursday at Manny’s Deli, 1141 S. Jefferson St., Quinn said, “I think now that the election is over and the people have spoken, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and work together for the common good.”
Brady said Quinn has now invited him to Manny’s for a post-election get-together.
Election returns indicate that all 11,209 Illinois precincts were reporting. Quinn finished with 1,721,812 votes, or 47 percent of the vote, compared with Brady’s 1,702,399 votes, or 46 percent. The difference is 19,413 votes.