Blagojevich elected Illinois governor

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

CHICAGO -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich ended Republicans' quarter-century hold on the Illinois governor's mansion Tuesday, beating an opponent who spent the campaign in the shadow of the scandal-ridden GOP incumbent.

Blagojevich, a 45-year-old three-term congressman, easily defeated Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan as voters handed Democrats control of nearly all of state government.

With 75 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results, Blagojevich had 56 percent and Ryan had 42 percent.

"Tonight, ladies and gentleman, Illinois has voted for change," Blagojevich said. "In this great state, in this challenging time, we can build a better life."

Ryan called Blagojevich to concede and addressed his supporters shortly before 10 p.m.

"This was a tough environment for Republicans, but he ran a tough race and he won," Ryan said. "I told him he has a tough job ahead of him and I wish him well and I wish him success."

In the Illinois Supreme Court race between incumbent Rita Garman and Democratic challenger Sue Myerscough, results remained tight late Tuesday.

With 56 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results, Garman had 53 percent and Myerscough had 47 percent.

A quiet campaign between the longtime judges turned controversial last month because of a television ad funded by an out-of-state political group.

The Washington-based American Taxpayer Alliance ran a series of ads attacking Myerscough, accusing her of "questionable calls" and rulings that were later overturned.

Myerscough, of Springfield, accused the group of using a negative campaign in an effort to steer the balance of the Supreme Court.

Garman, a Republican appointed to replace retiring Justice Benjamin Miller in early 2001, said she was unaware of the ads until she saw them on television. She defended the alliance's right to express its opinions.

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