After days of speculation over a possible recount in the Democratic Governor’s race, a teary Dan Hynes conceded defeat to incumbent Pat Quinn Thursday.
"We rose up, but fell just a little short," Hynes said, at times weeping along with the staff members surrounding him. "If Democracy means anything it means that the man with the most votes win. That was not us."
Quinn garnered about 7,000 more votes than Hynes after Tuesday’s primary, a less than 1 percent margin of victory. Because of the incredibley close vote total, Hynes had the option to challenge the results and enter into a prolonged fight for the nomination that could have fractured the Democratic electorate, but decided instead to bow out of the race.
He called Quinn early Thursday to offer his concession, and pledged to support him during the press conference.
"It's true that we had a few conflicts during this campaign, but that's how it goes when you have a discussion about the issues," Hynes said. "But I never doubted his commitment to the people of Illinois. Illinois needs him to continue as governor. I pledge to support him, and to work with him in the next few weeks and months as comptroller."
Gov. Quinn, speaking at a separate event a short time later, accepted Hynes' concession.
"We are grateful to Dan Hynes and his whole family. He does believe in ethic of service. He pledged his cooperation," Quinn said.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama called both candidates. He congratulated Governor Quinn on his win and not Hynes.
The Hynes camp says Obama did not ask him to concede, but the twin calls were a not-so-subtle hint that the president doesn't want this primary battle to continue into the general election.
Their campaign was often referred to as “contentious,” with both candidates running advertisements attacking the other’s competency.
"It was a fierce debate," he said. "But he has a basic decency that will serve the people of Illinois. I'm supporting him because he is a much better choice than anything that the Republicans have to offer."
Despite the outcome, Hynes left an indelible mark on the race. His "Harold Washington" advertisment helped rocket his campaign upward, and is pointed to as one of the hallmark moments of the 2010 primary season. Hynes was polling nearly 25 points behind Quinn just a month before the election, according to some estimates.
"I have no regrets," he said. "We were running behind and it helped."
Pundits will argue over its brilliance, but one thing is clear. The ad hurt Quinn, and continued infighting and attacks like that one could spell disaster for the Democrats and open a door for a Republican upset.
That is, if they can decide on a candidate.
Bill Brady clings to a few hundred votes lead over Kirk Dillard.
The races for governor aren't the only ones that are still up in the air.
In the GOP Lt. Gov primary, Jason Plummer leads Matt Murphy by 4,976 votes.
The razor-thin margins could lead to unprecedented recounts for a state with no automatic provisions for them.
The only major stalled race to conclude Wednesday was the Dem. Comptroller primary; Raja Krishnamoorthi conceded to David Miller shortly after 9 p.m.