Regional Vote Breakdown for Gov./Lt. Gov. Primaries

-By Warner Todd Huston

Ryan Keith and Brian Feldt of the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill. did some great work identifying the regional strengths of the candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor of both Parties in this primary season.

I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to reprint their whole piece because it isn’t too easy to excerpt without losing context, not to mention that the info is pretty important in order to uderstand the electoral reality in the state. So, here it is but be sure and understand that it came from the State Journal-Register.

Regional changes could have altered primary election results


Electoral craziness wrote another chapter last week in the zany book of Illinois politics.

The two races for governor ended in virtual dead heats, with two Republicans still waiting for a final count. Both races for lieutenant governor were close.

But the overall results don’t show just how close the losing candidates really came to victory – and how in some areas the tallies were lopsided in favor of those who came up a little short.

This analysis of unofficial election results reported by the Associated Press shows where candidates received their support. A slightly better showing in the Chicago area for Dan Hynes or stronger downstate support for Matt Murphy would have produced much different outcomes.


Gov. Pat Quinn won by only 8,000 votes on the Democratic side, while on the GOP side, no winner has been declared, although state Sen. Bill Brady appears to be leading state Sen. Kirk Dillard by about 400 votes.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers:


*Geographically, much of Illinois was for Hynes. Hynes beat Quinn in 88 of Illinois’ 102 counties. Quinn won just 14 counties. Quinn won five others by fewer than 100 votes each – and three of those by fewer than 10 votes each.

Hynes, meanwhile, won 24 counties by fewer than 100 votes each. But he also won nine counties by more than 1,000 votes.

Overall, Hynes won 42 counties with a majority of 60 percent or higher. He won five smaller downstate counties by more than 70 percent. Quinn didn’t hit a 60 percent majority in any county over Hynes.

*So why didn’t Hynes win? Simply, Cook County was Quinn’s savior.

With more than 566,000 votes cast in Chicago and the rest of Cook County, Quinn beat Hynes by more than 39,000 votes. That easily helped him overcome deficits in the suburbs and downstate.

There are more than 11,000 precincts statewide, 4,500 of which are in Cook County. One extra vote per precinct statewide, or just two extra votes in each Cook precinct, would have given Hynes the nomination.


*This race was dominated by the splits – as in seven candidates splitting the votes.

Five candidates received nearly 15 percent of the votes or more. Dillard and Brady essentially tied at right above 20 percent. A vote or two difference in dozens of counties could have given the nomination to any of three or four GOP candidates.

* Brady won 76 counties, compared to just seven for Dillard. Conservative rookie Adam Andrzejewski actually won 11 counties, but he finished fifth in total votes. Businessman Andy McKenna won six counties, while former Attorney General Jim Ryan won two.

*Much of Brady’s support was downstate, where he’s from. Dillard won only a handful of downstate counties, but did much better than Brady in the suburbs and Cook County.

Ryan handily won suburban DuPage County, while McKenna won Cook by about 15,000 votes.

Brady received only 5 percent support in Cook County. He had only about 8,200 votes there, compared to 47,000 for McKenna, 32,000 for Ryan and 29,000 for Dillard.

*Head-to-head, Brady did better than Dillard in 84 of the 102 counties. In some counties, Brady stomped Dillard. But those were mostly smaller, low-vote counties.

Dillard’s stronger showings in the more populous DuPage, Cook, Will, Kane and Sangamon counties kept the margins extra-close.

Lieutenant governor

The two close primaries for the state’s No. 2 role showed Chicago’s pick doesn’t always mean the overall winner.

Neither Cohen nor Republican Jason Plummer won their party’s vote in the Chicago area. Both used large chunks of downstate votes to win. And areas such as St. Louis and Rockford played a pivotal role.


*Cohen, the pawnbroker who pumped millions of dollars in personal wealth into the race before dropping out over the weekend, put suburban strength up against his nearest competitor’s Cook County turnout in the Democrats’ six-man race.

Cohen won five suburban counties, cutting into the margin the second-place finisher, state Rep. Art Turner, received from Chicago.

*Democrat Thomas Castillo, an Elmhurst electrician, was surprisingly strong, winning 17.2 percent of the vote and running first in 14 counties. He carried more than 25 percent of the vote in the St. Louis area, far from his suburban Chicago home.


*Murphy, a state senator from suburban Palatine, won more than 50 percent of the vote in Cook County and 43 percent in surrounding counties.

But Plummer, an Edwardsville businessman making his political debut, won 78 of the 95 downstate counties to edge out Murphy by one percentage point overall. Plummer did the best near his St. Louis-area home, winning all five of those counties by more than 14,000 votes over Murphy.

*Fellow downstaters Don Tracy and Brad Cole also muddied the picture.

Cole, Carbondale’s mayor, won five counties in southern Illinois, but had little traction elsewhere, finishing fourth overall. Tracy, a Springfield businessman, won Sangamon County by more than 1,000 votes but received just 11 percent of the vote to finish third.

Regional totals

A closer look at how the numbers broke down regionally for the top four contenders for governor and lieutenant governor, from unofficial results provided by the Associated Press


Democrats Gov. Pat Quinn Dan Hynes

Cook County 53.5 percent 46.5 percent

Suburbs 48.9 percent 51.1 percent

Downstate 41.2 percent 58.8 percent

Sangamon County 37.9 percent 62.1 percent

Total 50.4 percent 49.6 percent

Republicans Bill Brady Kirk Dillard

Cook County 5.2 percent 18.4 percent

Suburbs 6.5 percent 20.4 percent

Downstate 39.8 percent 19.4 percent

Sangamon County 26.7 percent 39 percent

Total 20.3 percent 20.2 percent

*Lieutenant governor

Democrats Scott Lee Cohen Art Turner

Cook County 24.6 percent 27 percent

Suburbs 35 percent 15.7 percent

Downstate 23.8 percent 13.2 percent

Sangamon County 28.5 percent 22.3 percent

Total 25.9 percent 22.2 percent

Republicans Jason Plummer Matt Murphy

Cook County 23 percent 51.4 percent

Suburbs 30.4 percent 43.7 percent

Downstate 41.6 percent 18.1 percent

Sangamon County 33.9 percent 13.6 percent

Total 34 percent 33.3 percent

“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,,,,,, Human Events Magazine,, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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