5 reasons why Rauner won
It's clear where Republican Bruce Rauner succeeded in the race for Illinois governor.
Big margins in the suburbs and downstate Illinois carried the day for the Winnetka businessman over Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
But why did Rauner win voters over? Here are five reasons.
The independently wealthy businessman pumped nearly $28 million of his own money into the campaign, driving spending in the race to a clear record. A lot more money came from donors and the Republican Governors Association.
The seemingly bottomless pool of money available for the race meant Rauner wasn't limited in his efforts to get his message out. Countering Quinn's ads, Rauner's TV spots kept his name in front of voters' eyeballs wherever they looked.
And money pays for other stuff, too. Rauner's camp bragged for months about having a solid network to help push people to the polls to vote, and that could have made a big difference Tuesday.
Rauner criticized Quinn over and over about the governor's move to raise income taxes in 2011 and plan to prevent the tax rate from dropping back the end of the year.
He also promised to freeze property taxes, a concept that plays well in the suburbs. Quinn warned that a big drop in state money could bust the state budget just as Illinois' finances were getting better. But voters like the idea of seeing their taxes go down.
After all, most Democratic candidates for the Illinois House were campaigning on letting taxes drop even as Quinn was arguing for the opposite.
Rauner never said how he'd pull off the possibly impossible trick of freezing property taxes, leaving voters with no idea whether he'll be able to deliver in the promise in the end.
And he never made clear how he'd be able to find more money for schools and other services while letting the state's income tax rate drop.
The dodges left voters in the dark. They also meant Rauner avoided talking about the messy, difficult decisions required when governing in Illinois -- questions Quinn couldn't avoid because he's the governor.
Republicans nationally had the political winds at their backs Tuesday night as the party swept to big wins in Congress and the U.S. Senate.
The GOP picked up both of the biggest races for Congress in Illinois, too.
Rauner could have benefitted from the national mood.
Despite recent progress in paying down Illinois' pile of unpaid bills and a dropping unemployment rate, Rauner tapped into the parade of bad news that emerges in Illinois politics some years and portrayed himself as an agent of change.
"This is a victory for every family in Illinois," Rauner told supporters Tuesday night. "Are you ready for a new direction?"