Blagojevich wins re-election

Governor Rod Blagojevich jokes with his daughter Amy (10, immediate right) and is joined on stage by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn (immediate left) during his acceptance speech for reelection as Governor of Illinois at the A. Finkl and Sons steel plant at 2011 S Dan Hollander

Governor Rod Blagojevich jokes with his daughter Amy (10, immediate right) and is joined on stage by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn (immediate left) during his acceptance speech for reelection as Governor of Illinois at the A. Finkl and Sons steel plant at 2011 S Dan Hollander

By Staff and Wire Reports

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich campaign supporters and members of the press crowded a spacious room in the A. Finkl and Sons steel company, 2058 N. Southport in Chicago, waiting for the winner of the governor’s race to be announced.

When CLTV announced that Blagojevich won his re-election based on exit polls, the room erupted in cheers and applause.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich won a second term over Republican Judy Baar Topinka and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney Tuesday. Blagojevich spokesman Doug Scofield said Topinka called the governor’s cell phone around 9:40 p.m. to concede, and Topinka gave a concession speech afterwards.

“She was very gracious,” Scofield said.

Blagojevich had earned 48.87 percent of the vote, while Topinka obtained 40.44 percent by 12:22 a.m., according to the Chicago Tribune. These data included only 9893 of 11692 precincts that had reported at the time.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Complete reports of the votes may be delayed. In Kane County, 223 precincts are staying open and extra hour and 30 minutes, until 8:30 p.m., due to late openings and machine problems. Polls at two Cook County precincts were extended an extra hour, until 8 p.m., because they opened late.

Most Illinois voters said the issue of corruption and ethics in state government was extremely or very important to them in their vote for governor Tuesday.

Yet that concern did not appear to hurt Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose administration is under federal investigation.

Federal prosecutors are investigating the Blagojevich administration’s role in alleged hiring fraud and a kickback scheme in the teachers’ pension program. His predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan, is scheduled to report to prison in January on a federal racketeering and fraud conviction.

Blagojevich has not been accused of wrongdoing, but Topinka — the state treasurer — tried to lay the scandals squarely on the shoulders of the man who four years ago promised “reform and renewal.”

Rex Bradfield, Republican candidate for the 103rd District of the Illinois State House of Representatives, said a Blagojevich win “would be a horrible mess for the state. The state may not recover.”

Yet among voters who viewed corruption and ethics as extremely important in the gubernatorial race, Blagojevich still split that vote with Topinka. And he edged her among those who saw it as a very important factor, according to the poll of 1,304 Illinois voters conducted for AP and television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, higher for subgroups.

Lana Randolph, speaking after casting her ballot in Collinsville, said she voted for Blagojevich. But the 62-year-old accountant said that “I wasn’t too thrilled to vote for him,” saying she had questions about his administration’s ethics.

“Of the two (candidates), he was the choice,” she said. “From what I had, I felt more confident with him. I put my vote in a person, and he seems like someone who’s really for the people.”

At an election poll in Bloomington, Pat Parmenter, 70, said she wasn’t inspired by the gubernatorial candidates but voted because she didn’t want to contribute to low voter turnout. She wouldn’t reveal who she chose in the governor’s race, but she said the corruption scandals weren’t a factor.

“I think (corruption is) a problem that’s never going to be fixed,” Parmenter said.

Blagojevich found strong support among women, while he split the male vote with Topinka. He also received strong support from blacks and Latinos.

The governor did well with all age groups except those ages 45-59, and he did especially well with young people. Blagojevich was also favored by those with incomes below $75,000, those without a college degree and union members — while splitting the non-union vote with Topinka.

Both Topinka and Blagojevich each drew a large proportion of their party votes. Topinka also led among independents, but Illinois is a heavily Democratic state — giving the edge to Blagojevich

Quinn said that if he and Blagojevich win, their main issue will be providing quality health care for the citizens of Illinois.

“We want to make sure that everybody is in and nobody is left out,” he said.

Quinn also said that he personally would work “night and day” to do anything necessary to support U.S. troops.

Blagojevich’s win was based on a statistical analysis of the vote from voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.