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Illinois' Big Role In Choosing GOP Nominee

Local Republican leaders agree Illinois' March 20 election will matter in the GOP's choice of a presidential nominee.

 

More than a year ago, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk wanted to make Illinois significant in the selection of a Republican presidential nominee. To do so, he invited Republicans around the state to participate in a straw poll to give Illinois' input to national Republican leaders. 

This spring, Kirk, from Highland Park, is getting his wish for Illinois votes to count.

Republicans have not yet gotten behind a consensus candidate for president, which means Illinois' March 20 primary election will matter as the party decides its nominee, according to local GOP leaders. 

Earlier:

Voting for delegates is what matters

Republican primary voters will make two choices March 20. They will vote in the state-wide preference contest to determine the most popular choice, but that election will bear no candidate any delegates, according to West Deerfield Township Chairman Mark Shaw of Lake Forest.

The second, and more important, choice voters will make is to pick three delegates and three alternates in each of the state’s 18 Congressional Districts to create the delegation to the Republican National Convention.

Romney, Gingrich and Paul each have full slates of 54 delegate candidates, but Santorum has only 44 delegate candidates. That means he doesn't stand to win as many, since they aren't on the ballot. 

Spotlight coming to Illinois

Local Republican leaders say the continuing horse race will focus national attention on Illinois voters, who stand to deliver key delegates to candidates. 

“It will make Illinois more important than it would have been,” Shaw said. “I think Illinois will go for Romney.” 

Moraine Township Republican Chairman Lou Atsaves of Lake Forest is thrilled with a significant voice in his party’s nomination process.

“It’s been ages since we’ve had a say so,” Atsaves said. “After Super Tuesday my mail box has been filling up like crazy.” 

Momentum over the next week

Romney, who is the frontrunner with 454 delegates after Super Tuesday, according to the Washington Post, will not be a contender in races over the next week, Niles Township GOP Committeeman Joe Hedrick said.

"That's where Illinois is going to be key," Hedrick noted. "If Santorum does a good job in those states, it could create a bandwagon effect and affect Illinois."

Rosemary Mulligan, Maine Township Republican committeeman, said she was disappointed no candidate has sewn up the nomination by now.

"We're going to be giving away the presidential race if we're not careful," she said.

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Jon Hall March 12, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Santorum, so good on the stump, can't put together and manage a campaign to execute basic fundamentals...like getting on the ballot.
Dan C March 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Romney will win Illinois by about 10%. The Washington Post and Rasmussen polls out today both show Romney beating Obama head-to-head. Obama's numbers will dip even further when gas gets over $5/gallon over the summer. Contrary to the spin the media has tried to create, Obama is in serious trouble come November.
Joe Nelson March 13, 2012 at 01:05 AM
I am very Conservative but, I think that the high gas prices are all Obama's plan for reelection. I think he will make the prices to over $5.00/gallon untill a month or two before the election then he will drastically lower the prices by probably $1.25/gallon and that will be why he says he should be reelected.
Molly March 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM
As a Republican I'm disappointed in all the above choices. It is also disheartening to listen to the various Chicago radio stations (560, 720) & national media attack every view, every person under the sun. Perhaps if people concentrated on improving their personal situation it would have a snowball effect and this country might see an improvement.
Charlie March 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM
If you believe in conspiracy theories then it's more probable that gas price manipulation is a Dick Cheney plan.

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