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An overflow crowd of Quinn supporters gathered at the Hotel Allegro in Downtown Chicago to await the results                     

If Brady needs a shoulder to cry on, he should call Kirk Dillard

by Andrew Theen
Nov 03, 2010

Election night proved that nothing is easy in Illinois politics.

Little has changed 24 hours after the polls closed. Gov. Pat Quinn proclaimed victory last night, but state Sen. Bill Brady still refused to concede defeat.

He's holding out hope that late-arriving absentee ballots flip his statewide deficit, hovering around 9,000 votes.

“I know the importance of making sure every voice is heard, and every vote is counted,” Brady said Wednesday. “I believe we will win.”

A Quinn spokesman said they believe there is no path for a Brady victory.

Meanwhile, Cook County clerk officials spent the day counting ballots.

All results from Cook County are officially in, but staffers caution that the arduous task of counting incoming absentee ballots is just beginning.

The county had more than 9,000 absentee ballots that haven’t been unsealed, and that's not including ballots received Wednesday.

Michael Kasper, an election lawyer, said the latest returns show Quinn's margin growing, but it is anybody's guess what part of the state the absentee ballots will come from.

Kasper said any ballot that was postmarked by Monday must be counted, and there is a two-week grace period.

The waiting game could stretch for a month.

“You cannot contest the results of an election until the results are final,” Kasper said. Even then, results can be challenged only after the Illinois State Board of Elections certifies the results.

This isn't Brady's first experience with a cliffhanger election, and it's safe to say nobody has more insight into how he feels than his opponent in the Republican primary, state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale.

"It's a helpless feeling that is coupled with exhaustion,” Dillard said.

Dillard came within about 200 votes statewide of beating Brady in the primary in February.
His advice to Brady, “Leave the vote counting to your staff," and take your family to dinner.

Dillard said he thinks Brady's deficit may be too much to overcome, even if absentee ballots from Brady-friendly areas are abundant. Dillard said conventional wisdom says absentee ballots from military personnel will favor Brady, but Dillard said Quinn is not your typical Democrat. “Quinn probably saw a lot of them off personally,” Dillard said of overseas military personnel.

Of his own experience, Dillard said it's easy to play Monday morning quarterback and criticize election results after the fact.

That being said, Dillard added that he thought Brady could've won the election if he brought in a heavy hitter, former Gov. Jim Edgar. “I would've run television ads featuring Gov. Edgar in Chicago the last week to solidify suburban woman voters."

If the results stand, Dillard offered some advice for Quinn.

"If Gov. Quinn holds on, he will have a clean slate and he needs to be a forceful leader and not be afraid to ruffle feathers.” For Dillard, that means Quinn needs to stand up to powerful interests within his party and labor unions.