Gov. Pat Quinn has granted 74 clemencies and denied 99 petitions, chipping away at a backlog of more than 2,500 cases in Illinois.
Quinn's office says that the 173 cases he addressed on Friday come from dockets ranging from 2004 to 2007. More than 2,500 clemency cases built up under Quinn's predecessor, ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Quinn has acted on 1,529 clemency petitions since taking office. He has granted 591 and denied 938.
Illinois Republicans say the state budget and national economy are key to their political fortunes next year.
They hope to chip away at the Democratic majority in the state legislature and protect the congressional seats they picked up in 2010.
As they gathered at the Illinois State Fair on Thursday, Republican leaders accused Democrats of mismanaging the Illinois budget. They criticized the recent income tax increase and Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to borrow money to pay overdue bills that are piling up.