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Collar counties carry Jeanne Ives in Republican primary for governor

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives speaks to the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Feb. 19. Ives lost her bid for the Republican nomination to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Illinois gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives speaks to the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Feb. 19. Ives lost her bid for the Republican nomination to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Every collar county but one in Illinois carried gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives in Tuesday’s primary election.

In McHenry, Kane, Will and DuPage counties, voters cast their ballots in favor of Ives, who fell short at Lake County polling places in a losing bid to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

McHenry County Republicans pegged Rauner’s local downfall to his support of nonconservative measures, including legislation he signed allowing state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.

“I think a lot of the Republicans were disappointed in what he’s accomplished or failed to accomplish,” said McHenry County Recorder Joe Tirio, who won the Republican nomination in his bid for the office of McHenry County clerk.

Ives tallied 51 percent of votes in McHenry County, collecting 12,979 votes in an election where 21.6 percent of registered voters turned out, according to unofficial results.

Neighboring Will County pulled for Ives, giving her
53.1 percent of the votes – or 20,354 cast for her.

Lake County was the only collar county that didn’t side with the self-described social conservative who graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1993. Ives was chosen on
47.9 percent of ballots, or 13,321 votes.

On the campaign trail in recent months, Ives said Rauner has abandoned Republican principles on abortion and gender issues, and has shown he is not up to the task of leading Republican opposition to the Democratic Party’s agenda.

She pegged Rauner’s greatest offenses as his support for billions in subsidies for power giant Exelon Corp., and the governor’s inability to prevent a third of the Republican Party caucus from voting to permanently raise the state income tax on residents and businesses by more than 30 percent.

Ives raised only $4 million – less than any of the other prominent candidates – but has attacked the governor’s conservative credentials in edgy TV ads.

One of them, which the chairman of the state Republican Party blasted as a “cowardly attempt to stoke political division,” portrays actors mockingly thanking Rauner for not doing enough to restrict illegal immigration, abortion and transgender bathroom rights.

“He didn’t accomplish much in terms of turning around the state, but he did approve the sanctuary state and publicly funded abortion bills,” Tirio said. “Those are pretty typical nonconservative stances on those issues.”

McHenry County Republican Chairwoman Sandra Salgado echoed the same sentiment, pointing to the 2016 election, when McHenry County carried Rauner to victory.

“Ives is definitely attractive to the super-conservative folks,” Salgado said. “McHenry County carried Rauner in the last election. We did it by not focusing on the social issues. There’s been a swing in the party to focus on some of those now. That didn’t work in his favor.”

Illinois voters turned out for Rauner in the end, giving him more than 51 percent of the vote. He will face billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker in November’s general election.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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