State Sen. Kwame Raoul claimed victory in the Democratic race for Illinois attorney general Tuesday, saying former Gov. Pat Quinn called to concede in the battle to replace outgoing Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Raoul, who has represented Chicago’s South Side since 2004, has long eyed the position and was one of the first Democrats whose names were circulated following Madigan’s announcement that she would not seek a fifth term in office.
Raoul earned 30 percent of the vote statewide with 92 percent of precincts reporting at 10:47 p.m. That gave him enough of an edge to defeat seven other candidates, including Quinn, who was thought to be the frontrunner in the Democratic race.
Having already run a statewide campaign, Quinn – who was elected governor in 2010 and lost his bid for re-election to Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2014 – was unable to hold onto his advantage in name recognition on Election Day, earning 28 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
The rest of the nominees included: state Rep. Scott Drury, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, ex-Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability chief Sharon Fairley, 33rd Ward Democratic committeeman Aaron Goldstein, former assistant U.S. attorney Renato Mariotti and Chicago Park District President Jesse Ruiz.
Madigan’s announcement in September that she would not seek re-election sent shockwaves through the state’s political circles, with dozens of Democratic names floated as potential candidates for the high-profile job.
In office since 2003, Madigan was Illinois’ first-ever female attorney general, made consumer protections and advocacy a central focus of her work, and was elected three times with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Long thought to aspire to run for higher office, speculation surrounding Madigan reached a fever pitch in 2014, when her name was floated as a serious contender for Illinois governor.
After much consideration, Madigan said she would not run for governor while her father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, remained in power.
While Speaker Michael Madigan stayed in office and is now the longest-serving state legislative leader in the nation’s history, his daughter surprised nearly everyone in announcing her retirement – and has yet to reveal her plans for the future.
Raoul, like a majority of the Democratic candidates who ran for attorney general, painted himself as a foil to the administration of President Donald Trump.
In his election night speech, Raoul, the son of Haitian immigrants, said, "I didn't come from no hole," in reference to Trump's alleged comments calling Haiti and African nations "s--tholes."
But before Raoul can take on Trump as attorney general, Raoul will first face Republican nominee Erika Harold in the general election come November.