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For once, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has met or even exceeded the expectations that were set for him. When he won the big Midwestern states of Michigan and Ohio, the margins were narrow enough and analysts were not impressed - given his huge advantage in money and organization. But in Illinois last night, even Romney's closest rival, Rick Santorum, did not come within 10 points.
Mitt Romney greets supporters during an Illinois GOP primary victory party in Schaumburg.
Credit Scott Olson / Getty Images
If only the rest of the nation were like Illinois, the past few months would have been much less stressful for Mitt Romney.
Illinois delivered a healing balm in the form of a resounding victory for the Republican presidential front-runner in Tuesday night's GOP primary, with Republicans there giving him about half of their votes.
It wasn't a surprise that Romney won. Polls in the run-up to primary day indicated he had a significant lead over his closest rival, Rick Santorum.
Still, the size of his win was impressive — about 12 percentage points.
Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 2:18 pm
Jim Wilson of Buckingham, Va., who supports Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, walks past a bus during a Romney campaign stop Monday in Springfield, Ill.
Credit Steven Senne / AP
As Illinois Republicans vote in their presidential primary, only one GOP candidate is expected to be in the state. Mitt Romney planned what he hopes to be a victory party Tuesday night in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg.
Newt Gingrich is campaigning in Louisiana, which votes on Saturday.
Ron Paul is in California, which doesn't vote until June.
And Rick Santorum is in Pennsylvania, his home state, which votes on April 24.
Candidate Rick Santorum, for his part, was far outside Chicago yesterday, barnstorming through some of Illinois' smaller cities. Santorum is hoping that rural and more conservative voters will somehow push his campaign over the top, in a state where he trails in the polls and has again been vastly outspent by Mitt Romney.