The Republican nominee will now take on incumbant Governor Pat Quinn, who easily beat out Chicago community activist Tio Hardiman to secure his party's nomination. Quinn initially faced potential challenges from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley, but both dropped out in the fall.
The November election could represent the best chance for Republicans to take the Governor's office since Jim Edgar left in 1999. Quinn narrowly beat State Senator Bill Brady in 2010, and many feel he is ever more vulnerable this time around because of a rapidly deteriorating financial and budget situation that has left Illinois with the worst credit rating of any state in the nation. Quinn's support of pension reform may also cost him some public employee union votes.
Divisions, however, between the Rauner camp and more established Republicans could be a stumbling block against a Governor who can count on undivided party and significant union support.