SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn's lesser-known challenger managed to win 30 counties in this week's primary, even though the Chicago Democrat easily won the race with more than 70 percent of the vote.
An analysis of Tuesday's results by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers (http://bit.ly/1gdXiBi ) shows a divide in support for the governor, particularly in communities further away from his home base of Cook County.
Unofficial tallies show Tio Hardiman, an anti-violence activist, carrying 30 of 102 counties including Christian, Shelby and Moultrie counties in Central Illinois and Randolph, Franklin, Perry and Williamson counties in southern Illinois.
"Given where most of that dissatisfaction came from, that just confirms the fact that the governor has significant weaknesses downstate," said University of Illinois-Springfield political scientist Kent Redfield. "That's something he has to address."
The lack of support from those counties wasn't enough to keep Quinn from handily winning on Tuesday when he captured 316,746 votes. Hardiman received 123,918.
Brunell Donald, Hardiman's running mate, said the support the pair received should prompt Quinn to pay close attention to the sentiment in some areas of Illinois.
"People say it was a protest vote. I think it means people are hurting and they want a change," said Donald. "They are saying, 'We're here. Please take care of us as well.'"
In 2010, Quinn won Cook County, but lost nearly every county in the general election to Sen. Bill Brady and still won the race. He'll face GOP businessman Bruce Rauner this time around.
A message seeking comment was left with Quinn's campaign spokeswoman.