Romney looks to Illinois for Republican nomination
WASHINGTON MITT Romney has yet another chance this week- Tuesday’s primary election in the critical heartland state of Illinois-to prove he is the inevitable Republican candidate in the extended and bitter fight for the nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in the November election.
The former Massachusetts governor and multimillionaire, who accumulated his fortune buying and selling troubled business ventures, has, however, proven singularly unable to win the hearts of the base of the Republican party, an increasingly conservative bloc of voters who distrust Romney for his moderate past positions on important social issues like abortion and gay rights.
To assure himself of the nomination he must accumulate 1,144 delegates to Republican National Con vention-allocated through state-by-state primary elections and caucuses. He has been battling to capture sufficient support to end the primary fight early, but it now looks as if it will take him to the end of the primary and caucus season in late June.
Each day that passes without a certain Republican nominee and the extension of the bitter fight raging with conservative opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich emphasises disunity in the party, creates perhaps insurmountable divisions and plays into the hands of Obama.
Romney has captured 501 delegates heading into Sunday, more than all of his rivals combined. Santorum stands at 253, Gingrich has 136, and Texas Rep Ron Paul is at 50, according to an Associated Press projection.
The importance Romney places on Illinois showed itself over the weekend when he added campaign events to his schedule in the Midwestern state. Romney’s campaign was taking no chances in Illinois after losses to Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, last week in the Deep South primaries in Mississippi and Alabama.
Romney is favoured in Illinois after eking out victories over Santorum in Michigan and Ohio, two other industrial states in the middle of the country.
He moved to Illinois early from Puerto Rico, the US commonwealth island in the Caribbean where residents cannot vote in general elections but are set to award 20 delegates in their Sunday Republican primary.