Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney romped to a landslide victory on Tuesday in the Illinois Republican primary, further solidifying his position as the GOP frontrunner in the race for the presidential nomination in November.
With 25 percent of the vote tabulated, Romney had 53 percent of the vote, followed by former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum with 30 percent, Texas congressman Ron Paul with 9 percent and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich with 7 percent.
Romney figures to win a majority of the 54 delegates that were up for grabs, as he inexorably pads his lead in what some are starting to call his inevitable nomination.
Illinois was an interesting dichotomy in voter background. The moderate Romney figured to do well in the more populous, urban areas, while the more conservative Santorum was expected to carry the more rural areas and evangelicals.
Of course, most analysts agree that the Illinois primary results ultimately won't much matter in November, since it's President Barack Obama's home state and is expected to go heavily Democratic.
The fourth-place showing was more bad news for Gingrich, who is rapidly collecting calls for him to withdraw from the race and let Santorum carry the conservative banner. In addition, numerous reports suggest that the Gingrich campaign is nearly out of funds, further hampering his floundering campaign.
Heading into the contest, CNN had Romney with 521 delegates, followed by Santorum at 239, Gingrich at 137 and Paul with 69. The presidential nomination requires at least 1,144 delegates.
The race continues on Saturday with the Louisiana Primary, which has 46 delegates in play.
Then there's a break until April 3, which sees primaries in Wisconsin (42 delegates), Maryland (37 delegates) and the District of Columbia (19 delegates).
by RTT Staff Writer
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