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Illinois: Battle for the Statehouse

Incumbent: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn

Republican: State Sen. Bill Brady

Green Party: Rich Whitney

Independent: Scott Lee Cohen

2008 Presidential Result: Obama 62%; McCain 37%

55+ Population (2009 estimate): 23.3%

Overview: Independent and Green Party candidates threaten to make this one closer than it would have been otherwise, and it's already close. Pat Quinn, the incumbent, is facing the same kind of budget shortfalls that bedevil many other states and he's running behind challenger Bill Brady. Independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney are apparently drawing support mostly from Quinn, jeopardizing an already tenuous hold on the statehouse. Brady has been focusing on the state's economic troubles — a higher unemployment rate than the national average. Quinn says things are better than when he took office four years ago, with 70,000 more workers employed now than at the first of the year.

50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.

Fun Fact: Six Illinois governors have been charged with crimes, either during their administration or after. Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), convicted this summer of lying to investigators during a corruption investigation, is just the latest.

'Wild Card' Issue: Big money. The state faces a $13 billion budget deficit and has outstanding obligations of $6 billion owed to community and non-profit organizations throughout the state. The candidates’ ability to sell heir budget closers could be the key to the election.

Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future

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