- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2010

CHICAGO — Comptroller Dan Hynes conceded in Illinois’ Democratic primary race for governor on Thursday and threw his support behind Gov. Pat Quinn, who already had declared victory.

“The people have spoken, and the votes have been counted. I’m here to report that we rose up and fell just a little bit short,” Mr. Hynes said.

Mr. Hynes said he had called Mr. Quinn to congratulate him. He urged people to support Mr. Quinn and dismissed the strife during what often had been a contentious campaign as “a spirited discussion about our future.”

Mr. Hynes had trailed Mr. Quinn for the Democratic nomination by a few thousand votes after Tuesday’s primary and initially refused to bow out. Mr. Quinn’s lead grew as more ballots were counted.

With the Democratic race decided, the spotlight remained on Republicans, who also have been waiting for a primary winner to emerge in the governor’s race. GOP state Sen. Bill Brady led by just a few hundred votes over state Sen. Kirk Dillard.

That race could wind up going to a recount. Illinois law doesn’t require recounts in close races, so the candidates would have to decide whether to request one and cover the costs.

Illinois Republicans have been hoping to capture the governor’s office as well as President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat by exploiting Democratic turmoil and scandal, including the arrest and ouster of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Mr. Quinn is trying to win the governor’s office on his own merits after inheriting it a year ago when Mr. Blagojevich was ousted, partly over allegations that he tried to sell Mr. Obama’s former Senate seat.

Two months ago, Mr. Quinn appeared set to easily win the nomination. But he was weighed down by the baggage of his two campaigns with Mr. Blagojevich, his support for a major tax increase and a botched program that granted early release to some violent prison inmates.

The race became a dead heat with Mr. Hynes, and the two traded bitter accusations of incompetence and dirty campaign tactics.

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