Shortly before polls closed in Illinois last night, a source with Adam Andrzejewski’s gubernatorial campaign told me that exit polling showed surprisingly strong support for state Sen. Bill Brady in the seven-candidate Republican primary. And at last count, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, Brady was clinging to a 2,400-vote lead over state Sen. Kirk Dillard.
A recount may be necessary to determine the official winner, and the same may be true in the Democratic primary, where state comptroller Dan Hynes refused to cede to incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.
In a primary where the five leading candidates fell within a six-point range — from 20.6 percent for Brady to 14.5 percent for Andrzejewski — the Tea Party favorite fell 40,000 votes short. Despite the disappointment among Andrzejewski’s supporters, they took some solace in the outcome. Brady is reliably conservative and his victory would be a defeat for Dillard (who appeared in a TV ad praising Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign) and also a defeat for former state GOP chairman Andy McKenna. Conservatives blamed McKenna for the weak and directionless condition of the state Republican Party, and he appeared headed to a third-place finish.
Andrzejewski’s concession statement was optimistic and foward-looking:
Tonight we learned the road to A New Day in Illinois is longer than we had hoped. But the fight we waged . . . does not end tonight and certainly does not end with my campaign. Over the course of the last year, you have opened a new chapter in Illinois politics and renewed the Reagan revolution that first came to Illinois in 1976. We have formed Tea Parties, 9/12 organizations and other advocacy organizations that have re-ignited the consciousness of conservatism. . . . Today, we may have been delayed, but we have not been denied.
I am committed to rebuilding our party and I am committed to re-laying the foundation with the values and principles our nation’s founders knew to be essential for liberty: limited government, free enterprise, individual freedom and traditional American values. . . .
I still believe the dawn of a new day is rising in Illinois. And I still believe that what you have started over the course of the last year is epic and has already made history in so many ways. And, I am still with you, for Illinois.
Brian O’Connell has the result of the Illinois Senate primary, Michelle Malkin summarized the fall Senate matchup thus: “The culture of ideological and political corruption runs deep in the veins of both parties in Illinois. We head to the general election with no illusions about the mediocre, uninspiring caliber of these two hack candidates. . . . It’s another hold-your-nose-and-vote race.”