Romney Wins Easily in Illinois

Rick Santorum finishes a distant second
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2012 7:10 PM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2012 9:33 PM CDT
Mitt Romney pauses to take questions from members of the media while touring the Chicago Google headquarters with Google Vice President Jim Lecinski in Chicago Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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(Newser) – Mitt Romney rolled to an easy win in the Illinois primary tonight, reports AP. With 98% of precincts reporting, he has 47% of the vote, well ahead of Rick Santorum (35%), Ron Paul (9%), and Newt Gingrich (8%). "Thank you Illinois," Romney said. "What a night." He congratulated his opponents but then focused his speech entirely on President Obama: "It's time to say this word: Enough." The Romney camp clearly hopes that the convincing win will get national Republicans to solidify behind him once and for all, notes Politico.

  • Santorum speech: Speaking in Pennsylvania, Santorum made clear he's not going anywhere. He congratulated Romney but noted that he, too, will pick up delegates. He told supporters that America doesn't need a "manager" as president but a leader who can bring fundamental change. (Next up is Louisiana on Saturday, where Santorum is expected to do well.)
  • Gingrich snipes: He issued a statement saying Republicans need a nominee who can do more than just outspend opponents by a wide margin, reports CBS News.
  • Exit polls: One finding is that voters don't mind the prolonged race; two-thirds said they wanted their candidate to win, even if it took months longer, notes the Washington Post. In good news for Romney, 37% said electability was the nominee's most important attribute, compared with 20% who wanted a "true conservative."

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