When state Sen. Kirk Dillard narrowly lost his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nod in 2010, he blamed the glut of fellow suburban candidates on his inability to shore up enough voters.
That year, five of the seven Republican candidates had suburban ties.
Four years later, the Hinsdale Republican was considered the only true suburban candidate in the four-man race, but that didn't matter to suburban voters.
In the suburbs, businessman Bruce Rauner of Winnetka handily defeated Dillard as well as state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa among suburban voters, unofficially taking more than 50 percent of those votes.
But outside of the suburbs, Dillard never marketed himself as the suburban candidate. He kept pace with Rauner throughout the night, until ultimately falling short at the end. Rauner will face incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November.
In Lake County, Rauner's unofficial vote total was more than 25 percentage points higher than Dillard's. Early, absentee and mail-in voters overwhelmingly supported Rauner there, as well as in Dillard's home county of DuPage, according to Election Day results from those county's websites.
"Rauner's message of good schools, lower taxes resonated with a lot of the suburban area," said Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar. "I think Dillard sold out to the unions."
Darlene Ruscitti, GOP chairwoman in DuPage County, said Rauner's money resonated the most in the election.
"One of the obvious answers is the TV ads," she said. "Voters saw those ads repeatedly."
In 2010, though 53 percent of all Republican gubernatorial votes came from Chicago and the suburban collar counties, the fractured voting bloc in the suburbs helped Brady eke out a victory over Dillard in the primary by less than 200 votes because of his strength downstate. Suburban voters were definitely more resolute Tuesday night, giving Rauner an overwhelming number of votes in each county. Rauner didn't take less than 45 percent of the vote in suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will counties, according to unofficial results.