Illinois Gov. Rauner concedes race, urges voters 'to come together and unite'
Gov. Bruce Rauner, a pragmatist even in defeat, conceded the governor's race to Democrat billionaire J.B. Pritzker in less than an hour after polls closed Tuesday night.
With 4.4 million votes counted, Rauner collected just 39 percent of the vote to Pritzker's 54 percent. Conservative Party nominee Sam McCann had just over 4 percent.
"It’s been an honor to serve you and the people of our great state," Rauner said in his concession speech, expressing gratitude to his supporters.
The Republican governor also made a special point to thank people who serve on the front lines every day helping others. "Thanks for the opportunity to serve you. Thanks to veterans for their service, to emergency personnel for their service, to our teachers. God bless our teachers."
Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti also thanked supporters for the opportunity to serve the state.
"It’s been such an honor to serve all of you in the state of Illinois," Sanguinetti said.
Sanguinetti said she went from being a daughter of immigrants to the country's first Latina lieutenant governor.
Rauner also delivered a clear message to Illinois: Let's come together for the future.
Rauner used his concession speech to urge unity after a state election that had its share of negative campaigning. He told supporters to continue to press for change.
"It's not an end to the change Illinois needs," Rauner said. "This is a time for us to come together and unite. To put aside partisan politics and create a better future for our children and grandchildren.
"We stand as a citizen of Illinois, not Republicans or Democrats," Rauner said. "Put aside partisan politics and move forward. There is so much work to be done. So much progress made in the last four years and we can’t let that end."
Making progress means working together, he said.
"Let’s work together," Rauner said. "I ran four years ago to change our state. I wanted to make Illinois a place our children and grandchildren could have the future they deserve. With the hard work of dedicated public servants, we’ve made significant progress."
Rauner said the change he sought for Illinois is still the change the state needs.
"We’re living through troubling times in our country," Rauner said. "The people of Illinois will not settle for the status quo. They’re so much better than the political machine that has always put us down."
Rauner voiced optimism. "I am a proud son of Illinois and a believer in our future," Rauner said.