Romney Wins Illinois

Image source:  DailyHerald.com

Winning Illinois would have a been a major upset for Rick Santorum. It would have been Big News.

Mitt Romney won Illinois. No caveats, no exceptions, no bullets. Not only did Romney get more votes than Santorum, he got more than 2nd-place Santorum and 4th-place Gingrich combined. Romney got more votes than 2nd-place Santorum and 3rd-place Ron Paul combined. Santorum would have had to get virtually all of Gingrich’s and Paul’s votes to have beaten Romney in Illinois, and I don’t believe anyone thinks he could get that large a percentage of their supporters, even if they both dropped out. Romney dominated the larger-population urban areas decisively, while Santorum was left with most of the rural counties. Romney lengthened his lead by taking 41 delegates, leaving Santorum with just 10.

I’m not surprised. I doubt anyone with a clue about Illinois politics is surprised. Illinois is not a conservative state, and the Illinois GOP is not a conservative party (with notable exceptions).

Regular Guy w/Dan Rutherford

The people supporting Romney’s campaign were much bigger names, and much more moderate than the people supporting Santorum or Gingrich. The state chairman for Romney is Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford. In one of his final acts as a state senator before taking up his new office, Rutherford voted for the state Civil Unions bill that has already forced the Catholic Church out of the adoption business. Rutherford, it is widely believed, hopes to run for Governor in 2014. I have noticed substantial overlap between Romney’s Illinois supporters in 2012 and the beneficiaries of Romney’s PAC in 2010. But that’s not an indictment of Romney; that’s just politics.

Regular Guy with Al & Kathy Salvi

By contrast, the Gingrich campaign was led by a local Tea Party leader, my friend Bruce Donnelly. The Santorum campaign was organized by Henry County Board Trustee Jon Zahm (a longtime conservative operative who worked briefly on my legislative campaign, among many, many others) and former State Rep. Al Salvi, with help from former State Rep. (and former RNC Committeewoman) Penny Pullen. These are good people, but they don’t have the influence or reach of one of Illinois’ only two Republican statewide elected officials.

This primary was Romney’s to lose from day one, and, for a change, Romney executed very well. Yesterday was a good day for Romney in Illinois.

(Cross-posted from Thoughts of a Regular Guy.)