Brady concedes governor's race, gay rights advocates claim victory

Fri. November 5, 2010 2:52 PM by News Staff

With Quinn victory will civil union legislation pass in Illinois?

Chicago, IL - Republican challenger Bill Brady this afternoon conceded defeat to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in a race the Associated Press called yesterday.

"We came to the conclusion that Gov. Quinn won this race," Brady told the media and crowd at a downstate Bloomington press conference this afternoon. Brady agreeing with an Associated Press analysis that showed he was unable to overcome the more than 19,500-vote lead held by Quinn.

Election results show Brady, a social conservative from Bloomington, took 98 of the 102 Illinois counties. He did well downstate and in Chicago collar counties including the Republican-heavy DuPage County.

Suburban Cook County and Chicago, which includes a majority of Illinois' LGBT voters, provided Quinn with more than half of his votes. Brady's conservative record in opposing gay rights, abortion rights and threatening cuts in state school spending didn't resonate well with city voters.

Gay rights advocates, who hammered Brady for his anti-gay stance, credit the strong showing for Quinn in Chicago with effective get-out-the-vote campaigns.

"We pulled out all stops for Quinn," Equality Illinois public policy director Rick Garcia told "Our PAC gave money and we made thousands of call to get out the vote." Equality Illinois Political Action Committee endorsed Quinn.

Equality Illinois Education Project, which distributed 450,000 absentee ballot applications, is claiming a victory with their eye-catching and non-political Vote Naked Illinois campaign, an effort in coalition with Roosevelt University and Rock the Vote. 

"We amassed an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort, energizing thousands of voters," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

For much of the campaign, polls indicated Brady would win which alarmed gay rights advocates who called this one of the most-important elections for LGBT rights in Illinois.

During the campaign Quinn said he favored civil unions. "We have legislation in Illinois very close to passage," said Quinn. "I believe we can pass that this year."

Gay rights advocates are now very optimistic a civil union bill will be passed in Illinois before the end of the year.

"We are in overdrive working to get the civil union bill passed before the end of the year," said Garcia. "And, the governor is fully on board."

A Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released in August shows Chicago residents are split evenly on same-sex marriage while a majority support civil unions.