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Romney pads his delegate count with Illinois win

 Standing in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan, Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a rally, Mond...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday, March 19, 2012, in East Peoria, Ill. (AP...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday, March 19, 2012, in East Peoria, Ill. (AP...
 Members of the media take photographs and record sound from a monitor showing Republican presidential candidate, and former Massachusetts Governor Mi...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, pauses to take questions from members of the media while touring the ...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, examines a Google logo while touring the Chicago Google headquarters ...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and his wife Ann wave to a crowd during a election night rally in Sc...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, speaks at his primary election night rally in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Ma...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, kisses his wife Ann during a election night rally in Schaumburg, Ill...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, stands with son Daniel and daughter Elizabeth as he speaks at his primary ...

Santorum 2012

Standing in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan, Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a rally, Mond...

Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday, March 19, 2012, in East Peoria, Ill. (AP...

Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday, March 19, 2012, in East Peoria, Ill. (AP...

Romney 2012

Members of the media take photographs and record sound from a monitor showing Republican presidential candidate, and former Massachusetts Governor Mi...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, pauses to take questions from members of the media while touring the ...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, examines a Google logo while touring the Chicago Google headquarters ...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and his wife Ann wave to a crowd during a election night rally in Sc...

Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, speaks at his primary election night rally in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Ma...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, kisses his wife Ann during a election night rally in Schaumburg, Ill...

Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, stands with son Daniel and daughter Elizabeth as he speaks at his primary ...

Mitt Romney easily won the Republican presidential primary in Illinois on Tuesday night, padding his already-formidable lead over chief rival Rick Santorum with another victory in a key industrial state.
Romney, a multimillionaire who has the backing of most of the Republican establishment but struggles with the party's more conservative wing, is leading the overall race for delegates to choose a candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in the November election. A less convincing win in Illinois would have triggered fresh anxiety within the party about his ability to win over its base.
Santorum, a Catholic who is favored by religious conservatives, has almost no hope of overtaking Romney in the tally of delegates who will choose the nominee.
Returns from 38 percent of the state's precincts showed Romney gaining 52 percent of the vote compared to 31 percent for Santorum, 9 percent for Texas Rep. Ron Paul and 7 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Early exit polling in Illinois showed Romney was preferred by voters seeking a candidate to oust Obama, and by those worried about the economy and federal deficit.
Santorum had robust backing from people seeking a real conservative and a contender with a strong moral character, and from the most religiously driven voters. But Illinois has only modest proportions of such voters.
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, won at least 13 delegates in Illinois, with 41 still to be determined. He was leading with 535 delegates, according to The Associated Press count. Santorum had 253, Gingrich 135 and Paul 50. Delegates are allocated through state-by-state primary elections and caucuses, and a candidate needs 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination.
Neither Gingrich nor Paul campaigned extensively in Illinois.
Still, Romney's inability to shake off a seemingly weak rival like Santorum, an ex-U.S. senator from Pennsylvania with little national following until a few months ago, highlights the struggles of his candidacy, reflecting his inability to generate excitement among Republican voters. It also means Romney has to spend time and money fighting primary battles instead of turning his full attention to defeating Obama.
In Illinois, Romney held an advantage in the competition for delegates to the Republican National Convention in August thanks to his superior campaign organization.
Santorum was ineligible for 10 of the 54 delegates at stake Tuesday because his campaign didn't file the necessary paperwork.
His campaign argued Tuesday that the race for delegates is closer than many people think.
Their count, which cuts back on Romney's delegates, assumes that the Republican National Committee will force Florida and Arizona to allocate their delegates on a proportional basis instead of winner-take-all. Romney won both states.
As Illinois Republicans voted on Tuesday, Romney raised more than $1.3 million at a luncheon in Chicago. He planned an election-night event in nearby Schaumburg, Illinois, while Santorum was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of Illinois native Abraham Lincoln's most famous presidential speech during the American Civil War.
Santorum has been seeking to make up in broadcast interviews what he has lacked in advertising money.
In Illinois, as in Michigan and Ohio, Romney enjoyed an enormous advantage in television advertising. His campaign and Restore Our Future, a super political action committee that supports him, outspent Santorum and his super committee by $3.5 million to $500,000, an advantage of 7 to 1.
Illinois was the 28th state to hold a primary or caucus in the selection of delegates to the nominating convention, about halfway through the calendar of the Republican campaign.
Next up is a primary Saturday in Louisiana where Santorum projects confidence following twin triumphs a week ago in two other Deep South states, Alabama and Mississippi. There are 25 delegates at stake.
Behind Louisiana is a three-primary night in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Wisconsin on April 3, with 95 delegates combined at stake.
Santorum is not on the ballot in Washington, D.C., but is ahead in opinion polls in Maryland. Wisconsin _ which is next to Illinois _ shapes up as the most competitive primary of the night.


Updated : 2021-10-21 07:04 GMT+08:00