WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Major Illinois Races Neck and Neck

Oct 26, 2014

Two major races in Illinois are going down to the wire.

Polling indicates the contests for governor and for 17th District congressman are too close to call.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner debate early this month. Polls indicate a close race.
Credit Illinois Public Radio

In the governor's race, Republican challenger Bruce Rauner and incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn are picking up momentum and support as the campaign draws to a close.  Rauner has received endorsements from major newspapers across the state, while Quinn is making appearances with nationally known Democrats.

Knox College political science professor Jim Nowlan would not be surprised if Quinn was unseated.

“You have in office a governor who’s been there for a number of years,” Nowlan said.  “And thus, the old adage about ‘it’s time for a change’ is popular with many voters right now, especially with the state having struggled in recent years.”

Nowlan said the outcome could hinge on two factors: Democratic voter turnout and how independent voters cast their ballots.

The 17th congressional race between incumbent Democrat Cheri Bustos and Republican challenger Bobby Schilling is another one that is too close to call.

Nowlan found poll numbers for that race to be surprising because the district was drawn to benefit Democrats.

Democratic incumbent Cheri Bustos is seeking a second straight term in Congress, while her challenger Bobby Schilling is looking to return for a second term.
Credit T.J. Carson

“There are significant portions of Democrat voters from Peoria, Rock Island, and Rockford in the district,” Nowlan said.

Nowlan said one advantage that Bustos has as the incumbent is name recognition, but noted that Schilling has that as well because he preceded Bustos in Congress.

He said Schilling might also benefit from a Republican surge in a non-Presidential election year.

He said the same is true for Rauner in the governor's race.