Sen. Sam McCann talks to reporters on March 15, 2016, after winning his primary election battle in the 50th State Senate District.

The Central Illinois legislator who incurred Gov. Rauner’s wrath by standing with working people instead of backing the governor’s political agenda, fought off a vicious, expensive attack Tuesday, winning his primary election by a margin of 53 to 47 percent.

State Senator Sam McCann (R-Plainview), the only Republican in the legislature to support a bill that would send the state’s contract dispute with AFSCME employees to binding arbitration, stunned political observers by defeating the governor’s candidate, Bryce Benton, in the primary for the 50th Senate District seat.

McCann’s victory came despite the $3.1 million spent on negative media by a political action committee associated with Gov. Rauner. The governor had hoped to make an example of McCann for his defiance. Rauner had strongly opposed the arbitration bill.

Speaking at the IEA Professional Development Center late Tuesday, McCann said he had no regrets about the vote that angered the governor.

“I will never vote to take a working person backwards, back down the ladder. I’m proud to have the opportunity and to take the votes I’ve taken,” McCann said.

McCann was recommended by IEA’s political action committee. IEA members and staff worked hard in recent weeks, walking precincts, staffing phone banks, to help McCann who was wildly outspent in the race, thanks to the governor’s allies.

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VIDEO: Sen. Sam McCann explains why he stood with his constituents in defiance of the governor and tells what his race says about the need for campaign finance reform.