Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka died early today, less than 24 hours after having a stroke, according to her office. She was 70.
Topinka reported discomfort yesterday and was admitted to a hospital in Berwyn. After undergoing tests she appeared to be doing well overnight before suddenly losing consciousness this morning. She was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.
Topinka, a Republican, won a second term last month in a tough race with Democratic challenger Sheila Simon, the former lieutenant governor.
"This was not going to be an easy race, and that's the way it turned out," Topinka said after the election results came in. "We were watching right to the end. I'm just happy because I have four more years to get things done."
Topinka previously served three terms as Illinois state treasurer, was a former Illinois GOP chairwoman and ran for governor in 2006. She said the temporary income tax increase should be phased out so that the state "keeps its promise without blowing a multi-billion hole in its budget."
Topinka and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner were the only two Republicans to win statewide races this year after Tom Cross was narrowly defeated in the treasurer's race.