Update from Rauner Headquarters 9:38 p.m.
Energy was high at the Rauner election party at the Hilton in the South Loop, but the room was stale with a cash bar, no food and a mix of music from “Celebration” to “Brown Eyed Girl.” As votes slowly trickle in, supporters seem to have a positive outlook on this close race.
As of 9:23 p.m. Republican Bruce Rauner led with 48.8 percent to Gov. Pat Quinn at 48 percent, with 60.7 percent reporting, according to Politico.
Rebecca Gengler, a small business owner from Big Rock, Ill., volunteered for the Rauner campaign earlier today and said the voter turnout was strong and thinks Illinois needs change.
“A lot of people believe in mediocrity, they are afraid of change because they are afraid to step outside of their comfort zone,” Gengler said.
As a small business owner she said she “want(s) to create job opportunities and not have many regulations and taxing.
Jorge Zavala, a 26-year-old DePaul alumni, was a Democratic candidate on the ballot for the 4th Congressional District in Illinois for the primary, and was in attendance at Rauner’s election party Tuesday night to show his support.
“I’m a big supporter of brining in fresh faces to the face of Illinois politics,” Zavala said. “I believe Rauner has something interesting to offer to the political atmosphere.”
Zavala believes that Rauner’s $63.7 million investment on his campaign is well worth it.
“I think it’s a good investment in somebody who, at least on the surface, is planning on making positive changes in the state of Illinois,” he said.
Rauner Campaign spokesperson Lyndsey Walters said that “energy is good, the momentum is still going.”
“Illinois knows they need someone to bring back their state, they know that’s Bruce Rauner,” Walters said.
Update from Quinn Headquarters 6:20 p.m.
Gov. Pat Quinn has been barnstorming across the city today in an effort to get as many supporters to the polls before they close.
Quinn made appearances at several area universities, including a stop at DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus, where he shook hands and took pictures with students while urging them to get to the polls.
According to Leroy Johnson, a Democratic election judge at a precinct in the Lincoln Park Library, turnout throughout the day was “steady,” which surprised him given that it’s an off-year election and with the record amounts of early voting.
Quinn and his challenger, Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, have been locked in one of the tightest races in the country. Polls in the last few weeks have indicated a dead heat, with Quinn and Rauner taking turns in the lead. The race is the most expensive in Illinois history.
The governor emphasized early voting and brought in some powerful allies like President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton, and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton to boost his campaign.
During the campaign, Quinn, who has an approval rating hovering around 35 percent, turned the attention to Rauner’s record as a businessman. The strategy very much mimicked the one used by the Obama campaign against Mitt Romney in 2012.