Wow. Talk about taking one for the team:
As election officials across Illinois continued to tally the final trickle of uncounted ballots in the disputed Republican governor race today, state Sen. Kirk Dillard indicated he would not push for a recount unless he trailed rival state Sen. Bill Brady by 100 votes or less.
But Dillard could face difficulties getting that close. The Hinsdale lawmaker contended he had cut in half Brady’s 420-vote lead as election offices went through final absentee ballots and provisional ballots cast by voters who were not on registration lists, but claimed they met voting requirements.
"I want to do everything possible to avoid a recount," Dillard said. "But if it's around a hundred votes or less, then a recount is a possibility."
Given that over three-quarters of a million votes were cast in the February 2nd primary, it would not have been unseemly for Dillard to request the recount, given that the current margin is about six-hundredths of a percentage point.
However, it is worth noting that in the state of Illinois, the onus (and more importantly, the expense) of the recount process falls on the challenging party. This, it goes without saying, might go a long way towards explaining Dillard's reluctance.
Dillard could ask for a "discovery recount" of up to 25% of the precincts in a jurisdiction, and then he can head to court if anything turns up. The expense in such a move would easily head into the six figures.
On balance, this is a loss and a win for Governor Pat Quinn, the Democratic nominee. It is a loss in that Quinn could have benefitted from being able to hang onto his resources while the GOP nomination process played itself out in a protracted fashion. On the other hand, it is a win because it gives him, if recent polling is to be believed, an incrementally more beatable Republican nominee. Dillard, who famously appeared in an early Obama for President television ad singing the Democrat's praises, is probably the more electable of the Republicans both geographically (hailing from the vote-rich Chicagoland suburbs) and ideologically.
A poll released last week in the wake of the primaries gave Quinn an eleven-point (42-31) edge over Brady, and a considerably tighter six-point (40-34) edge over Dillard.