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Mitt Romney easily won the Illinois Republican Primary on Tuesday adding to his delegate lead and dealing a setback to the Santorum campaign hoping to build on recent momentum.

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Results for Illinois Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Mar 20, 2012 (>99% of precincts reporting)
Mitt Romney 429,533 46.7%
Rick Santorum 322,423 35%
Ron Paul 85,747 9.3%
Newt Gingrich 73,246 8%
Other 9,175 1%

Report from CBS News:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cruised to victory in the Illinois Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night, defeating his closest rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, by double digits.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Romney had 47 percent of the votes cast to Santorum’s 35 percent. Ron Paul was in third with 9 percent, and Newt Gingrich in fourth with 8 percent. Turnout was light in the state.

In victory remarks in Schaumburg, Illinois, Tuesday night, Romney kept his focus squarely on President Obama — not his Republican primary opponents.

“Three years of Barack Obama have brought us fewer jobs and shrinking paychecks, but many of us believed we were in danger of losing something even more than the value of our homes and our 401(k)s,” he said. “After years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops in income and historic highs in gas prices, a president who doesn’t hesitate to use all the means necessary to force through Obamacare on the American public, but leads from behind in the world. It’s time to say these words, this word: enough. We’ve had enough.”

CBS News exit polls found that Romney, whose base of support was in Chicago and its suburbs, performed well among college graduates, Catholics and voters who see the economy as the most important issue facing the country. He also had a small edge over Santorum among those identifying as conservative. Santorum led Romney among white evangelicals and those identifying as very conservative.

Santorum is going to have a tough road ahead over the next few weeks, especially April 24 which could be deemed the Northeast Super Tuesday with many New England states which are favorable to Romney. Louisiana will caucus in a few days but Santorum’s next hope might not be until Indiana on May 8. Gingrich appears to be a non-factor moving forward and Ron Paul will likely continue scraping by with his piles of cash as opposed to piles of votes.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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