State treasurer's race still too close to call, recount possible
A clear winner has yet to emerge in the race for Illinois state treasurer, and the margin is so close that the candidates are already preparing for a possible recount.
With 99.5 percent of the precincts reporting, former House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego says he has a 22,000-vote lead over state Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign in a race where more than 3 million votes were cast.
However, Frerichs, a Democrat, is not conceding, saying there are still as many as 50,000 ballots yet to be counted in Cook County.
"It's a statistical dead heat," Frerichs spokesman Dave Clarkin said.
Unofficial vote totals show Cross leading by 18,936 votes, or about half a percentage point. With all but 47 of the 10,114 precincts reporting, Cross has 1,624,522 votes, or 48.1 percent, and Frerichs has 1,605,586 votes, or 47.6 percent.
Libertarian candidate Matthew Skopek has 4.1 percent, with 140,298 votes, unofficial totals show.
The Chicago Board of Election confirmed Wednesday afternoon that it still has to count roughly 15,000 votes from city precincts, plus 9,900 absentee ballots that arrived in the mail Monday and Tuesday.
The board also still has to go through envelopes from 2,069 precincts and count any stragglers from the 12,000 to 13,000 voters who applied for absentee ballots. To count, the ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3.
Cross is already gearing up for a possible recount challenge.
"In the event that our opponent seeks to pursue a recount, we are assembling a top-notch team of experts and lawyers who are already at work preparing to defend our victory," Cross said in a statement Wednesday.
It's rare for the treasurer's office to be such a hotly contested race, but Cross and Frerichs stirred things up over a variety of issues, including how to get a balanced budget passed and how to run the treasurer's office more efficiently.
Cross stepped down as Illinois House Republican leader to run for treasurer, a post often viewed as a political steppingstone, while Frerichs is looking to return the office to the Democrats.