Quinn concedes to Rauner, hopes to raise minimum wage by end of term

By Eric Cortellessa

Gov. Pat Quinn concedes to Bruce Rauner in the Illinois governor's race. "It's clear that we do not have enough votes to win the election," he said.
Gov. Pat Quinn concedes to Bruce Rauner in the Illinois governor’s race. “It’s clear that we do not have enough votes to win the election,” he said.

Gov. Pat Quinn conceded Wednesday afternoon to his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner, officially concluding the most expensive gubernatorial contest in Illinois history.

Trailing Rauner by more than 172,000 votes, with 99 percent of precincts reported, Quinn held a news conference on the 15th floor of the Thompson Center to throw in the towel.

“It’s clear that we do not have the votes to win the election,” he said, a day after vowing to stay in the race until all the votes are counted.

Quinn appointed Ryan Croke, his chief of staff, to lead the transition team to help the Rauner Administration.

Following Quinn’s remarks, the Rauner camp released a statement:

“I thank Gov. Quinn for his many years of service to Illinois and appreciate his commitment to making this a smooth transition. I look forward to getting to work to make Illinois the most compassionate and competitive state in the nation,” he said.

Rauner spent much of the day assembling his transition team, which Evelyn Sanguinetti, his running mate, will lead.

Quinn also used Wednesday’s news conference to emphasize that voters showed support for his campaign initiative to raise the minimum wage. Included on the ballot was a referendum to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015. The measure was approved by 63 percent of Illinois voters. The ballot question was advisory and has no effect in terms of law making.

“One issue that I was very pleased to see yesterday, voted on by the people, loud and clear, was raising the minimum wage in our state. Our minimum wage is $8.25. It’s not enough for a mom, a dad or anyone to raise a family on,” Quinn said. “I look forward to working with the legislature in the time I have left to get that done.”

Rauner, who won his first bid for public office, will be inaugurated as the 42nd governor of Illinois on Jan. 29.

The governor’s race cost more than $100 million, which doubled the record set four years ago.