Pat Quinn is one of the most vulnerable incumbent governors in the nation, according a respected political forecasting site.
Illinois is rated as “toss up” between Republicans and Democrats by the Cook Political Report, run by election handicapper Charlie Cook. Quinn’s status is listed as “potential retirement.” The only other governors in the same position are Republican Paul LePage of Maine and Rick Scott of Florida.
Quinn’s weakness is even more remarkable because Illinois has a Partisan Voting Index of +8 Democratic, making it one of the bluest states in the nation.
Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball doesn’t think much of Quinn’s chances, either. Noting that 30 of the 36 incumbent governors are running for re-election in 2014, “the largest number in over half a century,” Sabato notes that “[i]t is also possible that one or more of these three governors could be defeated in a party primary: Lincoln Chafee (D-RI), Tom Corbett (R-PA) and Pat Quinn (D-IL).”
The last Illinois governor to lose a primary was Daniel Walker. Walker got on the wrong side of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who ran Secretary of State Michael Howlett against him in the 1976 Democratic primary. Howlett won, but lost the general election in a landslide to former U.S. Attorney James R. Thompson. The Democrats wouldn’t win another governor’s race for 26 years.