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Quinn cruises to victory in Democratic primary

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn easily defeated his little-known challenger, Tio Hardiman, in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election.

With 96 percent of the precincts counted statewide, Quinn had 295,771 votes to 115,935 for Hardiman, a 72 percent of the votes to 28 percent for Hardiman.

“Tonight the people of Illinois have spoken,” the governor told cheering supporters a little after 10 p.m. “I am honored to accept their invitation to be the governor of Illinois.”

He indicated the directions the campaign would take when he said Democrats respect workers. “We understand that there are some who do the hardest jobs in our society, and that’s why we intend to raise the minimum wage in Illinois,” Quinn said.

In his quest for a second term, he will face Republican primary winner Bruce Rauner in the general election.

Quinn’s opponent Hardiman, who formerly led the Chicago anti-violence group CeaseFire, lost his job after he was charged with domestic battery last year. Prosecutors dropped the charge.

Hardiman’s deputy campaign manager, Rashid Kyei, had predicted victory before the polls closed. Later, his candidate wouldrefused to concede until all the results were in.

“Mr. Hardiman will not accept defeat until all the results are in,” Kyei said. “He’s been a champion all his life and a voice for the voiceless. He’s already made history. Being in the race alone is a win.”

Neither Quinn nor Hardiman spent much money on the campaign. Hardiman’s war chest is nonexistent; Quinn is saving his ammunition for the general election.

As Republican candidates for governor bashed each other in a seemingly endless series of debates, Quinn kept his head down and ignored Hardiman.

Quinn, whose running mate for lieutenant governor is former Chicago Schools Supt. Paul Vallas, has the backing of big labor. But he also recently drew a $240,000 donation from high-tech business investor J.B. Pritzker and his wife.

For now, polls show that Rauner, who has poured millions of his own money into his campaign, is ahead of Quinn in a one-on-one race.

However, last month Quinn hired as his campaign manager Bill Hyers, who steered New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s come-from-behind, populist, everyday-people campaign. Quinn told the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet that he views his 2014 run as a “battle for the soul of Illinois.” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn easily defeated his little-known challenger, Tio Hardiman, in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election.

The Associated Press called the race for Quinn at 7:45 p.m., about 45 minutes after most polls had closed.

With about three-fourths of the precincts counted — 7,389 precincts reporting out of 10,130 precincts statewide — Quinn had 234,197 votes to 87,633 for Hardiman, a 73-percent-to-27-percent lead.

Quinn will continue his quest for a second term and face the Republican primary winner in the fall. In the GOP primary, Bruce Rauner had about half the votes cast, and a double-digit lead, in early returns.

Hardiman, who formerly led the Chicago anti-violence group CeaseFire, lost his job after he was charged with domestic battery last year. His wife later dropped the charge.

Hardiman’s deputy campaign manager, Rashid Kyei, had predicted victory before the polls closed. Later, his said his candidate would refuse to concede.

“Mr. Hardiman will not accept defeat until all the results are in,” Kyei said. “He’s been a champion all his life and a voice for the voiceless. He’s already made history. Being in the race alone is a win.”

Quinn had not yet spoken to his supporters, but Quinn’s communication adviser, Brooke Anderson said: “Day by day the governor has rebuilt Illinois one step at a time. Illinois is making a comeback, but there is a lot more work to be done.”

Neither Quinn nor Hardiman spent much money on the campaign. Hardiman’s war chest is non-existent; Quinn is saving his ammunition for the general election.

As Republican candidates for governor bashed each other in a seemingly endless series of debates, Quinn kept his head down and ignored Hardiman.

Quinn, whose running mate for lieutenant governor is former Chicago Schools Supt. Paul Vallas, has the backing of big labor. But he also recently drew a $240,000 donation from high-tech business investor J.B. Pritzker and his wife.

For now, polls show that Rauner, who has poured millions into his own campaign, is ahead of Quinn in a one-on-one race.

However, last month, Quinn hired as his campaign manager Bill Hyers, who steered New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s come-from-behind, populist, everyday-people campaign. Quinn told the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet that he views his 2014 run as a “battle for the soul of Illinois.”