Primary ends campaigns for governor, Congress

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

CHICAGO -- Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan easily won the Republican nomination Tuesday to succeed scandal-tainted Gov. George Ryan while former Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel secured the Democratic nod for a Chicago congressional seat.

The Democratic primary for governor was too close to call. Former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas was holding a narrow lead over two opponents.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Ryan -- who is not related to the governor -- had 251,725 votes, or 45 percent; state Sen. Patrick O'Malley had 157,814 votes, or 28 percent; and Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood had 155,753 votes, or 28 percent.

Among the Democrats, former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas had 347,890 votes, or 35 percent; Rep. Rod Blagojevich had 340,392, or 34 percent; and former state Attorney General Roland Burris had 310,638, or 31 percent.

Democrats are hoping a bribery scandal that haunted Gov. Ryan will give them a chance to win the governor's seat for the first time since 1972.

The primary winners face off Nov. 5. Illinois is one of 36 states holding elections for governor this year and one of 17 states in which the incumbent is not running.

Clinton's legacy played a role in the contest for the open 5th Congressional District on Chicago's North Side that featured a hard-fought battle between Emanuel and former state Rep. Nancy Kaszak. Blagojevich stepped down to run for governor.

The winner is expected to have the edge this fall in the heavily Democratic district.

Kaszak called Emanuel and conceded after she fell behind in the eight-candidate primary.

"I feel great, but most importantly I'm humbled and honored," Emanuel said. "It's moments like this that you remember all the good and all the bad but also all the strength you got from people and why you did this."

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Emanuel had 45,836 votes, or 50 percent. Kaszak had 35,026 votes, or 39 percent.

Most of the sparring in the governor's race was between Blagojevich and Vallas, who argued over guns and abortion -- even though both support abortion rights and gun control.

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