Illinois Republicans delivered a decisive victory to Mitt Romney in the state's presidential primary Tuesday, crushing Rick Santorum in what amounted to the first big-state head-to-head contest among the front-runners for the GOP nomination.Continue reading.
With 98 percent of the state's precincts reporting, unofficial results showed the former Massachusetts governor with 47 percent of the vote to Santorum's 35 percent. The other two candidates in the race, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, made only token campaign efforts in Illinois and were trailing badly.
Even more important for Romney, he swamped Santorum by winning 39 of the 54 elected delegates up for grabs in the state. Santorum had only five, though votes were still being counted in several Downstate congressional districts where he ran strongest.
"What a night. Thank you, Illinois. What a night. Wow!," Romney said to supporters at his victory party at a Schaumburg hotel shortly after 8 p.m. "Tonight we thank the people of Illinois for their vote and for this extraordinary victory."
Savoring a victory in President Barack Obama's home state, Romney framed the general election as a "defining decision" for the American people. "This election will be about principle. Our economic freedom will be on the ballot. ... It's time to say this word: enough."
Also at New York Times, "Romney Wins by Wide Margin in Illinois."