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.
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.
Despite losses in Alabama and Mississippi, Mitt Romney lost little ground to Rick Santorum in the delegate chase last week — thanks primarily to wins in offshore territories, whose residents will not be allowed to vote for president come November.
Santorum had his best delegate week between his victory in the Kansas caucuses March 10 and his wins in the Deep South on March 13. The week ended Sunday with a primary in Puerto Rico.
In nine contests between March 10 and March 18, Santorum picked up 73 delegates, while Romney won 69.
Mitt Romney won Puerto Rico's Republican presidential primary Sunday, adding the commonwealth's 20 delegates to his commanding lead over the other candidates as they compete to reach the 1,144 needed for the nomination. Rick Santorum hurt himself with the island's voters by saying English had to become its official language before it could achieve statehood.