Illinois' Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn could lose in November, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics and author of the Sabato's Crystal Ball website, says.
Quinn, "barely elected to his first full term in 2010 and hampered by a poor state economy and budget problems, appears to be losing so far to a wealthy Republican, Bruce Rauner," Sabato and co-writers Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley said in an analysis by Crystal Ball.
"Illinois is the state [President Barack] Obama now calls home and is deeply Democratic; still, the president’s party could see its governor tossed out (just as Democrats lost Obama’s own Senate seat to Republican Mark Kirk in 2010)," the report said.
Quinn won in 2010 in part, the Crystal Ball report says, because he was facing an extremely conservative opponent that Illinois voters wouldn't approve, even though there was a "gigantic Republican wave that cycle."
But this time around, Rauner is considered more of an "outsider" opponent, and is promising "to clean up the mess in Springfield." Springfield is the Illinois state capital.
In the March primary
, Rauner, a multimillionaire venture capitalist and first-time candidate, defeated his nearest competitor, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, netting 40 percent of the vote to Dillard's 37 percent. The race once again fueled hopes for a Republican takeover of the governor's office.
While Crystal Ball initially deemed the Illinois race as a "toss-up," it's now saying the race leans Republican and Rauner has a good shot at defeating Quinn.
"We’ve heard a lot of pessimism from Democrats about Quinn’s odds, though they hold out hope that he can pull the rabbit out of a hat once again," the report said. "He might, but he’s down right now — and facing a better candidate, Rauner, than he did last time."
If Quinn loses, he would be the first governor from a sitting president's home state, and of the president's party, to lose re-election since 1892, the report said, quoting Politico's Kyle Cheney.
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