After three days of ballot counting, Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has narrowly won re-election after the election was conceded by ultra-conservative and anti-gay Republican Sen. Bill Brady. The Republican trails Quinn by 19,000 more than 19,000 votes, reports the Chicago Tribune..
Brady recently sponsored a bill to rollback anti-LGBT and anti-transgender protections in the Illinois Human Rights Bill, which prohibits discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Brady also proposed changing the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. For those reasons, and also because many polls indicated Brady would win, gay activists in Chicago poured substantial resources into GOTV, reports ChicagoPride.com.
"We pulled out all stops for Quinn," Equality Illinois public policy director Rick Garcia told ChicagoPride.com. "Our PAC gave money and we made thousands of call to get out the vote."
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.
During the closing days of the campaign, a black Democratic state senator blasted Brady as "idiotic, racist, sexist and homophobic." At a Saturday rally at a church on Chicago's West Side, Sen. Rickey Hendon introduced Quinn with a broadside against his opponent. "Let me tell you a couple things. I've served with Bill Brady. I've never served with such an idiotic, racist, sexist, homophobic person in my life," Hendon told the crowd. "If you think that the minimum wage needs to be $3 an hour, vote for Bill Brady. If you think that women have no rights whatsoever except to have his children, vote for Bill Brady. If you think gay and lesbian people need to be locked up and shot in the head, vote for Bill Brady."
Quinn later distanced himself from Hendon's remarks but said he and his Republican challenger have "strong differences" over a woman's right to choose and gay rights.