For months, Kwame Raoul held healthy single-digit leads over Erika Harold in several polls. However, there were large numbers of undecideds over 20 percent.
But Raoul, a state senator, quickly broke out to a commanding lead in the state’s largest, vote-rich counties and will cruise to a comfortable victory over Harold.
Harold, an Urbana resident and former Miss America, graciously conceded defeat around 8:30 p.m. She told supporters that she realized she would not prevail after early returns came in. Still, she said, her campaign succeeded in “sending a strong message about what we think Illinois should look like.”
While Harold led in the vast majority of the state’s 101 counties, with many margins well over 50 percent in several counties, Raoul dominated in vote-rich Cook with 72 percent and just under 60 percent in DuPage, and held leads in the low 50 percent in several other collar and outlying counties like Will, Lake, DeKalb, Winnebago and even Champaign.
As of 9 p.m., Raoul had a 460,000 vote lead with just over half of the state’s 10,114 precincts reporting.
Raoul enjoyed heavy financial support from the state’s two Democratic heavyweights, now Governor-elect JB Pritzker, and longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan. Between them, they poured more than $5 million into Raoul’s campaign, including $2.5 million of the $3.9 million Raoul received the final month of the campaign.
In the third quarter, Raoul spent more than $2.8 million, more than Harold had raised over her entire campaign to that point. In the final three weeks of the campaign, Harold received a healthy $2.4 million infusion of cash, $1.5 million of it from billionaire and Republican mega-donor Ken Griffin.