Polling primaries is no easy task, but this is a massive miss, and WAA will need to offer some serious and searching self-criticism if they ever want to be taken seriously again. You also have to wonder if WAA's parent organization, the extremely right-wing and anti-union Illinois Manufacturers' Association, had a rooting interest in this race. Dillard was actually able to make it so close because labor groups spent heavily on his behalf to attack Rauner. And because Illinois has open primaries, they encouraged their members (many of whom might otherwise lean Democratic) to vote for Dillard. It almost worked.
And this is probably the ideal outcome for embattled Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who will need a lot of luck to survive in November. Sure, Rauner has infinity moneys, but he's easily caricatured as an out-of-touch one-percenter, thanks in large part to his own Romney-esque tendencies. And a narrow win after a bitter primary means that Dillard can't possibly be thrilled about attending whatever unity breakfast the GOP hopes to schedule.
Quinn, in fact, has already gone on the offensive, airing a new ad before Rauner was even officially declared the victor on Tuesday. The buy is small (around $45,000), but the topic goes right at one of Rauner's worst blunders to date. Quinn's spot features two clips of Rauner. In one, he says, "I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage," which is lower. In the other, he says, "I am adamantly, adamantly against raising the minimum wage." This is not the last time we're going to hear Democrats bring this up.