Narrower than expected defeat for Simon in comptroller race

By Lyndsey McKenna

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon concedes the race for state comptroller to incumbent Judy Baar Topinka. Lyndsey McKenna/Medill
Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon concedes the race for state comptroller to incumbent Judy Baar Topinka. Lyndsey McKenna/Medill

At 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon conceded the race for state comptroller to incumbent Judy Baar Topinka.

“I want to thank everyone who was here and everyone who was a part of this,” Simon said. “And just in case anyone doesn’t think I’m a lucky person, I want to thank my daughter here with me and my daughter in China watching.”

With a modest but enthusiastic crowd gathered early in the evening at Connie’s Pizza in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, preliminary polling returns put Simon in the lead. Simon appeared surprised by the results, and the supporters present cheered wildly.

As the crowd continued to grow, Simon maintained the lead. Around 10 p.m., results began to favor Topinka.

Though Simon won Cook Country handily, it wasn’t enough to secure the position of comptroller. The margin by which Simon lost, however, was unexpected. Polling numbers projected a much larger margin of defeat for Simon.

Latest results showed Topinka with 50 percent and Simon with 45 percent. A third candidate drew 5 percent.