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CHICAGO (AP) – Longtime Republican legislator Dan Rutherford has won his bid to become Illinois’ next treasurer.

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Rutherford beat Democrat Robin Kelly, chief of staff for Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Rutherford had 50 percent of the vote, and Kelly had 44 percent. Green Party candidate Scott Summers and Libertarian James Pauly also ran.

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Giannoulias gave up the office to run for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. He was defeated by Republican Mark Kirk.

The 55-year-old Rutherford has been a state senator since 2002 after 10 years in the House.

He and newly elected Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka say they want to merge the offices, saving an estimated $12 million.

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