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Rauner leads early in Illinois governor primary as GOP seeks to upend state's political order

Tuesday - 3/18/2014, 10:50pm  ET

CHICAGO (AP) -- Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is leading the GOP primary field in his bid for Illinois governor.

It's a signal many voters embraced the multimillionaire's campaign after he flooded the airwaves with promises to run the state like a business and curb the influence of government unions.

Early returns showed Rauner leading three longtime state lawmakers -- state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. The winner of the GOP primary will advance to a November matchup with Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who easily won his nomination for a second full term.

For voters across Illinois, the governor's race was shaping up as a potential battle over union influence. Some voters say they want to break an alliance between organized labor and Democratic control of the governor's office and state Legislature.

Organized labor was battling back out of concern that Rauner could seek to weaken unions.

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