Illinois Primary: Live coverage
The Republican presidential primaries continue Tuesday in Illinois, the land of Lincoln and of President Obama -- although, it should be noted, neither was born there. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hopes that Illinois will give him the kind of head-snapping victory that will make his long-rumored inevitability more distinctly inevitable. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, hopes to confound the pundits yet again, although his past successes have raised expectations significantly.
What’s really different this time is that Illinois feels like the kind of one-on-one, mano-a-mano battle between Romney and Santorum that the latter has coveted for months. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have kept a low profile in Illinois. Nevertheless, polls show that Gingrich and Paul continue to attract roughly the same amount of support from likely voters in the state that they do nationally – about 13% and 8%, respectively.
If Romney manages to grab more than 50% of the vote, that would be a sign that he may finally be wrapping up the nomination. On the other hand, if Santorum wins, that would be yet more evidence that conservatives are rallying around him rather than resigning themselves to a Romney candidacy. No matter what the result, don’t expect Gingrich or Paul to drop out, at least not tonight.
The Times’ Doyle McManus, Michael McGough, David Horsey and I will be following the returns and sharing our thoughts 140 characters at a time. Read our tweets below and interact with us here and on Twitter.
GOP Primary overview
Illinois GOP Primary: Results map
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012
Photo: A Voter enters the fire station polling place on Tuesday in Magnolia, Illinois. Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images