Romney wins Illinois GOP presidential primary

WTMJ News Team & The Associated Press

Romney wins Illinois GOP presidential primary

CREATED Mar. 20, 2012 - UPDATED: Mar. 20, 2012

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.- Mitt Romney is looking beyond his GOP rivals with his Illinois primary win and focusing his fire on the economic policies of President Barack Obama.

Romney told supporters Tuesday night that three years of Obama's presidency have meant fewer jobs and shrinking paychecks and that the country's future is brighter than these troubled times.

Romney hopes to put the long and expensive Republican contest behind him to focus on Obama in the fall election. But he's struggled to win over skeptical conservatives and his chief rival, Rick Santorum, plans to continue the fight until the GOP convention in August.

Mitt Romney added another state to his win column by out spending Rick Santorum, his closest
opponent, 21-to-1 in the Chicago area and 7-to-1 statewide. But in the back and forth battle, it was
a solid victory for the front runner.

It has been a split decision for Romney and Santorum in the states surrounding Wisconsin.  Romney has won Illinois and Michigan, Santorum has taken Minnesota and Iowa, although it was basically a tie.

Polls suggest Romney did well in Illinois because it has more moderate conservatives, Santorum
thinks he will do better in Wisconsin with a larger conservative base.

Former state Senator Ted Kanavas has been backing Romney for the beginning.  Romney will be
in Wisconsin March 31 as the grueling campaign moves into the final 22 states.  "Ultimately, Mitt Romney is going to win the election," said Kanavas.  "The longer we take with this, the less time we have to focus on what the direction of the country should be, and how President Obama has failed in that mission."

Back In January, Santorum sounded optimistic surviving until Wisconsin, since then Santorum has not had the money nor the organization to put people on the ground in the Badger State, but that's about to change.  "We feel that the Senators message will play very well there.  Wisconsin is one of the states that has been hit hard by the economic downturn," said Santorum's campaign manager Michael Biundo. 

Both Romney and Santorum are expected to visit Wisconsin before their April 3 primary.

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