CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner declared victory over Jeanne Ives in the Illinois Republican primary for governor.
Rauner, despite spending millions, faced a much stronger than expected challenge from the arch-conservative West Point graduate Ives. The governor declared victory around 10:15 p.m. in a speech to supporters.
“I am honored and humbled by this victory,” he said.
“We have a chance to finish now what we’ve started and accomplish the critical change Illinois so desperately needs.”
Early polls had Rauner with a big lead, but the race tightened considerably into a single digit race in the final days. The Rauner campaign was pressing a get-out-the-vote campaign heading into the final hours.
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Ives represented Wheaton in the statehouse but decided to enter the race after Rauner flip-flopped, signing a bill providing public funding of abortions for the poor.
Rauner has already spent $12 million and is sitting on another $55 million in cash. The bulk of his resources come from his fortune earned as a hedge fund investor.
Rauner has stated he will spend whatever it takes to compete in both the primary and the general election.
Ives’ campaign was largely funded by conservative packaging mogul Dick Uihlein, who has donated $2.5 million.