BLOOMINGTON — Outspent by his rivals and called little more than a spoiler by some, state Sen. Bill Brady conceded the race for governor Tuesday, saying he just didn't have the money to compete.
With the vote tallies still rolling in, Brady was mired in third place in his third bid for governor.
The Republican from Bloomington had cast himself as the best choice to take on Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in the November general election because of the "buyer's remorse" Illinois voters have had during Quinn's tenure as chief executive.
But, with 77 percent of the precincts reporting across the state Tuesday, Brady had 15 percent of the Republican primary vote behind wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner and state Sen. Kirk Dillard, with 40 percent and 38 percent respectively. Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who had conceded earlier in the evening, stood at 7.5 percent.
Brady had hoped the base he created during his previous runs for governor would help him fend off the big spending Rauner and the union-backed Dillard.
But, in a concession speech at 9:30 p.m., Brady said Tuesday just wasn't his night.
"This didn't end up in case you didn't know they way we hoped," Brady said. "We just didn't have the resources to reach beyond the grass roots.
The 52-year-old real estate developer entered the race last summer with a newfound sense of ease on the stump after making two previous attempts at the state's top elected office.
Brady came close in 2010. After winning the primary, he won 98 of Illinois' 102 counties, but fell short in Quinn's Cook County by less than a percentage point.
In 2006, Brady came in third in the primary, receiving 18 percent of the vote.
With Rauner, a political newcomer who once voted in a Democratic primary, spending big dollars and Dillard getting the backing of Big Labor, Brady said he was the only "reliable Republican" in the race.
But, he also took steps in between the 2010 and 2014 race to seek out reasons why the GOP had lost the governor's race and, in 2012, lost the presidential race. After being labeled as too conservative for the state, Brady got behind an effort to allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses in Illinois. As his running mate, he picked Maria Rodriguez, former Long Grove village president, trustee and clerk.
He also spent very little on the race.
"We ran this on a very, very short investment in terms of staff," Brady said.
Brady started the day greeting commuters in Chicago and later returned to his hometown of Bloomington to vote at Centennial Christian Church. He hosted an election night party at a Holiday Inn near Central Illinois Regional Airport.
Brady's loss doesn't mean he's out of office in January. He still has two years left on his Senate term.