By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — Supported by $14 million in campaign donations, including $6 million of his own fortune, Bruce Rauner came from a political unknown to the GOP candidate for governor in Illinois on Tuesday night.
By the numbers, Rauner spent nearly $43 per vote he received.
More importantly, his margin of victory–about 22,500 votes–over Kirk Dillard cost about $622 a vote.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, Rauner received 326,166 votes, or 40 percent, compared with Dillard’s 303,515 votes, or 37 percent.
Rauner was able to ride big margins of victory in Cook and the other Chicago collar counties to hold on in a race that, based on pre-election polling data, was a bit closer than expected.
Dillard used stronger support from Downstate to make the race interesting, at one point closing to within about 4,000 votes, but his margin of victory in some counties simply wasn’t enough to make up the difference.
According to the Rauner campaign, it was the first time in 16 years that a GOP candidate received more votes in the primary than the winning Democratic candidate. No other GOP candidate has gotten more votes than Rauner in a primary in the last 12 years.
Now, the stage is set for what CBS 2 Chief correspondent Jay Levine called an “epic battle’ against Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn.
The $6 million in personal money used by Rauner is an Illinois record; the $14 million raised is not.
Now, experts predict both sides might spend up to $50 million for the general campaign.
In a rare move, Quinn had already produced an attack ad against Rauner before Election Day and paid to have it aired on all Chicago networks on Tuesday night. The ad blasts Rauner’s comments that he supported cutting the minimum wage in Illinois, a stance he has since changed.
Rauner called Quinn’s policies a failure, noting Quinn’s income tax increase, the state’s budget deficit and unemployment, and vowed to “take back Illinois” in November.