From the Chicago Tribune, news that in the President’s homeland, a Republican may be doing more than nipping at the heels of sitting DEmocratic Gov. Pat Quinn. And, a lot of his support comes from gains among suburban women? All this with a Libertarian candidate in the race being bankrolled by unions:

With less than two weeks until Election Day, the race for Illinois governor is a dead heat as Republican challenger Bruce Rauner has made significant inroads among suburban voters, especially women, a new Chicago Tribune poll shows.

The survey found Rauner with 45 percent support and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn with 43 percent. That’s within the poll’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error. Little-known Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm had 4 percent, while only 7 percent were undecided ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

The findings represent a sharp turnaround from a similar survey conducted Sept. 3-12 that found Quinn with an 11 percentage point advantage over Rauner…

During the past six weeks, the most significant change came from voters in the traditionally Republican-leaning collar counties that surround Cook County. Last month, Rauner held a narrow collar-county advantage over Quinn — 44 percent to 39 percent. But the latest survey showed Rauner now capturing two-thirds of collar-county voters.

The Rauner surge has been driven primarily by white suburban women, a voting bloc considered socially moderate but fiscally conservative. Rauner has the backing of 57 percent of that group, while Quinn has the support of 35 percent. A month ago, the candidates split that demographic at 41 percent apiece.

Such movement has cut Quinn’s overall lead with women to 4 points. The same group of moderate, white, suburban women has been turning against Obama, who has been appearing with Quinn on what Democrats assumed was friendlier ground than many other, purpler states. Quinn’s numbers with independents are brutal —”Rauner had 55 percent to 29 percent for Quinn as opinions of the candidates hardened closer to the election”—but beneath the good news lurks the suggestion of a Romney problem for this Republican candidate of great personal wealth (emphasis mine):

Asked which candidate would do better in restoring the state’s economy, 44 percent sided with Rauner and 36 percent with Quinn. And 48 percent chose Rauner as better able to manage the state’s finances while 32 percent picked Quinn.

But 45 percent of voters considered Quinn to be more in touch with people like them, while only 33 percent sided with Rauner.

The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Rauner, but not without controversy. Because newspapers endorse Democrats 96 percent of the time without issue, but when they endorse one Republican, errybody gotta lose their minds. That appears to be what happened here, but I’ll give you the basic run-down on this relatively obscure dust-up.

On Oct. 6, the Chicago Sun-Times ran an unflattering report about a lawsuit against Rauner, written by reporter Dave McKinney. The Rauner campaign was none too happy as most of the lawsuits accusations had been dropped in court, so they lobbied to keep the story out of the paper and alleged a conflict of interest with McKinney, whose wife works for a Democratic firm linked to an Illinois liberal Super PAC. Sun-Times editor Jim Kirk stood behind the story and McKinney, whom they are satisfied is not benefiting financially from any Illinois political campaigns on the homefront (though a disclosure doesn’t seem unreasonable). The paper also returned to endorsements after a hiatus, endorsing Rauner Oct. 19, calling him an “extraordinarily capable businessman who just might have what it takes to break the stranglehold of uninspired, self-serving, one-party rule in Springfield.” The Quinn campaign called the editorial a make-up call for Rauner after the lawsuit story. But it is and should be routine for papers to run critical stories about candidates, because that’s their job, and then later endorse the same candidates, because that’s their job. McKinney agreed, resigning with a flourish, alleging he was taken off his longtime beat to appease Republicans. In Illinois? Anyway, you can take what you will from all that, but if the Sun-Times had endorsed Quinn, there wouldn’t have been a peep about it.

In other far-fetched, dream-scenario state news, Joe Scarborough discussed on “Morning Joe” Democratic concern over Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, whom they called “stiff, brittle, and angry” in a debate with Scott Brown:

She’s also kicking reporters out of open events—the hallmark of a secure, successful campaign: