Last-minute Vote Influences in Illinois's Gubernatorial Election

10/31/2014 12:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney resigned from his position as Springfield bureau chief after 19 years this month. He said ownership of the paper succumbed to pressure from the Bruce Rauner campaign over a story it didn't like.

In a blog post about his resignation, McKinney said he was taken off his political beat while the paper looked into accusations of a conflict of interest between McKinney's wife, Ann Liston, a Democratic strategist and the outcome of the story. McKinney said there had been no conflict of interest and that he felt like the paper no longer supported him as a reporter.

Friends and political rivals Dave Lundy and Chris Robling discussed whether this would have an effect on Rauner's election efforts.

From Lundy:

[W]hat happened here is...almost Nixonian in its malevolence. Rauner's team had apparently compiled a dossier on Dave McKinney's new wife Ann Liston and was prepared to unload it when they felt threatened by a bad McKinney story. Despite the fact that the story they objected to was reported by Carol Marin and Don Mosely, in addition to McKinney, they successfully pushed to have the paper's top political reporter sidelined three weeks before a major election. It's also worth noting that the Rauner folks didn't object one iota or demand some disclaimer on his reporting when Dave McKinney was writing all of his anti-Quinn pieces on the violence initiative. Over the course of the last year, McKinney probably wrote five negative stories on Governor Quinn for every one he wrote on Rauner. But please don't let the facts get in the way.

From Robling:

This story matters little to voters and it should.

But it became a tempest in the tea pot of Illinois political newsies, especially Democrats, because they saw it as an aid in alienating Bruce Rauner from women voters -- a key political objective in the bailout of the foundering campaign of Hapless Pat Quinn, Illinois demi-Governor.

Read the rest of Lundy and Robling's thoughts on this controversy at Reboot Illinois.

Voter turnout could be another last-minute influence in this election. Both candidates are pushing their supporters to go out and vote Nov. 4. Which kinds of voters decide to show up or sit out the election could make or break the race for both candidates. It's happened before. Watch Madeleine Doubek and Matt Dietrich explain at Reboot Illinois.