Gubernatorial elections were held in Illinois in November 1976. Incumbent Governor lost renomination in favor of Secretary of State Michael J. Howlett, who was a Daley ally. Howlett then lost the general election to Republican James R. Thompson. This election was for a two-year term which would synchronize future gubernatorial elections with midterm election years, rather than presidential election years.
The incumbent Governor, Dan Walker, had a contentious relationship with the Daley Machine, which backed Secretary of State Michael J. Howlett. Walker carried most of the state's counties, but Howlett carried Cook county by a wide margin and was ultimately nominated.
Dark Blue denotes a county carried by Howlett, and Light Blue by Walker.