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Pritzker won more votes than any gov candidate since ‘Big Jim’ Thompson in 1976

Chicago Sun Times

Wednesday, December 5, 2018  |  Article  |  Sun-Times Staff

Governor (44)

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s loss last month to Democrat J.B. Pritzker is the most lopsided Illinois governor’s race in nearly a quarter of a century.


And in terms of raw votes, Pritzker received more than any Illinois gubernatorial candidate since 1976.


Pritzker beat the Republican governor 54.5 percent to 38.8 percent, according to official results certified this week by the Illinois State Board of Elections.


Pritzker’s 15.7-percentage-point victory margin is the largest since 1994, when Republican Gov. Jim Edgar walloped Democratic challenger Dawn Clark Netsch 63.9 percent to 34.4 percent, a spread of nearly 29.5 percentage points.


But in terms of raw votes, Pritzker won nearly half a million more than Edgar did in 1994. Pritzker beat Rauner, 2,479,746 to 1,765,751, according to the final tally. In 1994, Edgar beat Netsch, 1,984,318 to 1,069,850.


Pritzker’s 2.4 million winning vote total is greater than any Democratic or GOP gubernatorial candidate in Illinois since 1976, when Republican Jim Thompson racked up 3,000,395 votes to beat Democrat Michael Howlett, 64.7 percent to 34.7 percent.


The heated battle between Pritzker and Rauner has already broken other records.


Pritzker has pumped more of his own money into a campaign than any other self-financing candidate in U.S. history.


The Gold Coast billionaire dumped $171,500,034.95 into his war chest, beating the 2010 record set by California Republican Meg Whitman, who churned $144 million of her own fortune into her losing battle against Democrat Jerry Brown.

Assuming Pritzker spent the entire $171,500,034.95, it breaks down to $55.73 cents a vote for the combined 3,077,502 votes he received in the Democratic primary and November general election.