Bruce Rauner's election as Illinois' first Republican governor since 2003 topped the state's news in 2014.
The election reflected concerns about an uneven economy and showed voters were unhappy enough with the state of the state to want change.
The Associated Press' Top 10 Illinois stories of the year also featured a number of specific state government issues - enactment of the first law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons, the first gay marriages in state history and a move toward legal sales of medical marijuana.
By the end of the year, evidence surfaced that the economy was improving.
And sports was big news, too: A Chicago Little League team made global headlines, and Cubs fans saw reason to hope their team soon might truly be big league again.