Confusion the winner in Ill. governor primaries

February 04, 2010

WASHINGTONCHICAGOBEIJINGTEHRAN, Iran — - The primary election that was expected to launch a political battle in President Barack Obama's home state instead left Democrats and Republicans squabbling among themselves Wednesday over governor's races that were virtually tied. Gov. Pat Quinn claimed victory in the Democratic primary over Comptroller Dan Hynes, despite a margin of less than 1 percent. Though Obama called Quinn to offer his congratulations, Hynes has refused to concede. On the Republican side, Sen. Bill Brady led by just a few hundred votes over Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard said a victory by Brady, a downstate conservative with little support in the Chicago area, would hurt the GOP's chances of reclaiming the governor's office. Illinois Republicans hope to capture the governor's post as well as Obama's former Senate seat by exploiting Democratic turmoil and scandal, including the arrest and ouster of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. GOP victories in an increasingly Democratic state would be another blow to Obama, already stinging from the Republican victory in a Massachusetts special election for Edward M. Kennedy's former Senate seat. The Senate primary produced no surprises. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, an Obama friend and former banker, captured the Democratic nomination. Five-term U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk was the Republican pick.

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