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Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn narrowly wins election to first full term

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), the onetime lieutenant governor to disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), has bested former state Sen. Bill Brady (R) to win election to his first full term in office.

The Associated Press called the race for Quinn this afternoon. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Quinn received 1,721,812 votes to Brady's 1,702,399, a margin of victory of half a percentage point.

Quinn's win comes despite the fact that he barely survived a tough primary earlier this year and stumbled badly in the general election; his campaign was marred by the departure of several of his top consultants. He also took over the office under difficult circumstances, ascending from his lieutenant governor post after Blagojevich was removed from office.

The victory left many veteran Democrats befuddled about how he managed to win despite the relatively weak campaign he ran and even as the party was handed a series of setbacks elsewhere in the state.

Regardless of why he won, Quinn's victory is welcome news for the Democratic Governors Association who lost a number of large-state races in places like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"In a major victory for Democrats, Governor Pat Quinn won election in the fifth largest state in the country," said DGA Chairman and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in a statement.

With the Illinois race settled, just two other contests -- Minnesota and Connecticut - remain to be called.

In the Minnesota race, state Rep. Tom Emmer (R) trails former Sen. Mark Dayton (D) by nearly 9,000 votes. The race will likely go to a recount.

And votes are still being tallied in Connecticut, where the Associated Press first called the race for Democrat Dan Malloy, then revoked the call. Republican Tom Foley told The Fix this afternoon that he maintains a narrow lead in the race, despite the latest AP total showing Malloy ahead by about 6,240 votes.

By Felicia Sonmez  | November 4, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Next: Afternoon Fix: Quinn wins in Illinois; Howard Dean won't primary Obama; president reaches out to GOP leaders

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