Pritzker and Quinn win top ballot spots in gov, AG races

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J.B. Pritzker, left. Kevin Tanaka/Sun Times File Photo; Former Gov. Pat Quinn right. Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times File Photo.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn and billionaire entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker will take the top ballot spots in the March primary in heated races for attorney general and governor, thanks to a lottery conducted Wednesday in Springfield.

Top ballot placement is most helpful in races with a long list of candidates. Seven are vying for the party nomination in the Democratic gubernatorial contest, and eight in the attorney general’s race.

In the race for governor, Pritzker takes the first spot, followed by businessman Chris Kennedy and state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston. Corrections officer Terry Getz, Madison County Schools Supt. Bob Daiber, former CeaseFire director Tio Hardiman and Robert Marshall, a Burr Ridge doctor, round out the list.

Getz is expected to be removed from the ballot by the State Board of Elections because he didn’t meet the signature requirement and didn’t have a running mate. In a Dec. 1 Facebook post, Getz wrote that “a write in selection may still be possible.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner will be listed first on the Republican primary ballot since he filed his nominating petitions on Nov. 27. His challenger, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, filed on Dec. 4, the last day to do so.

In the Illinois attorney general’s race, Quinn secured the first ballot spot. Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, state Rep. Scott Drury, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, secured the next spots, followed by Chicago Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz, former chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability Sharon Fairley and Aaron Goldstein, who served as one of former Gov. Blagojevich’s defense attorneys.

A top spot may help bolster Quinn, who is already banking on some name recognition in the crowded race to succeed Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Raoul garnered the Cook County Democratic Party’s endorsement last month, but he’ll be positioned fifth on the ballot.

The lottery was conducted with an old set of Illinois Lottery numbers being pulled at random from a wooden box.

While it’s hard to prove how much the No. 1 spot could add to vote totals, candidates tend to try to arrive in Springfield before 8 a.m. on the first day of filing — this year on Nov. 27 — to ensure they are included in the lottery for the top ballot spot.

“I know that a lot of people do put a lot of time and energy into obtaining that first ballot position, so I would have to assume that there is something to it,” Brent Davis, the state’s director of election operations said after the drawing.

But since everyone who is in line at 8 a.m. on the first day gets a chance, he stressed “there’s technically no point” in being first in line except one thing: “bragging rights.”

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