With all counties required to post their final vote tallies today, Kirk Dillard is making up ground--if slowly--and insists that he won't concede defeat to Bill Brady.
Absentee and provisional ballots from this month's primary election must be counted by individual counties on Feb. 16th. but the state won't receive and combine the numbers until next week.
Dillard told Crain's that he intends to "wait until they send the real numbers to Springfield on the 23rd and make sure all of them have been double-checked" before considering a concession.
Brady started the day fewer than 400 votes ahead of Dillard for the GOP governor's nomination. Unofficial counts put that total closer to 300. And with results coming in today, it looks like Dillard will chip away at the lead.
DuPage County has reported a net gain of 46 votes for Dillard over Brady; Will County gave Dillard another 25 net votes. But other counties with sizable populations have contributed considerably fewer votes: Dillard gained 2 votes from Winnebago County, 4 votes in Sangamon and only 1 vote in McHenry.
Of the seven largest counties in Illinois, this means that only Lake is unaccounted for. If the 304 uncounted Republican votes there break as they did in the among primary voters at large, Dillard should net roughly 36 votes there. Cook County has been reporting its absentee and provisional ballots as they've come in.
This means that, barring anything unusual, Dillard should narrow the margin to somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 votes by day's end.
But with no more ballots left to be counted, the only question that will remain is whether or not Dillard will press for a recount. In the age of electronic tabulation, 200 votes is a margin unlikely to be overturned by recount; pundits believe that at 100 votes or fewer, a recount might be worth considering.
Of the 100-vote figure, Dillard said, "That might be a good number to go off of."
For now, though, it's all speculation, as the numbers keep trickling in and the Dillard camp hopes for a miracle.