Romney wins Illinois, Santorum next
CHICAGO—Mitt Romney scored a decisive victory over Rick Santorum in the Illinois primary on Tuesday, tightening his grip on the Republican front-runner’s slot.
Romney carried Cook County, the second most populous in the country, by 30 percentage points.
Santorum still professed satisfaction with the Illinois results.
“We won in the areas that conservatives and Republicans populate. We’re happy about that, and we’re happy about the delegates that we’re going to get, too,” he said.
The former Pennsylvania senator forecast “a big win and a big delegate sweep” in his home state, five weeks from now, adding that he is “feeling very, very good about winning Louisiana on Saturday.”
Increasingly, the Republican race has become a contest between the monied interests, which back Romney, and the grassroots base, which has favored Santorum.
One of the biggest challenges facing Romney, if he becomes the presumptive nominee, will be bridging this divide.
Romney has more than twice as many delegates as Santorum, according to the latest Associate Press projection.