Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won a convincing victory in the Illinois Republican primary March 20, far ahead of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. “Tonight we thank the people of Illinois for their vote and for this extraordinary victory,” Romney said in his victory speech that consisted primarily of vague criticisms of the Obama administration.
Romney's victory, according to exit polls
, can be attributed to his plurality of city voters, the college educated, self-described moderates, and the wealthy. Santorum won rural voters, self-described conservatives and evangelicals.
Romney's opponents attributed his victory to the former Massachusetts Governor's ability to outspend his rivals. Romney outspent Santorum in Chicago 21-to-one, and seven-to-one statewide. According to Politico.com
, “Romney’s campaign has spent $1,117,704 in Illinois while the super PAC Restore Our Future has put in $2,556,353. The Santorum campaign spent a comparatively modest $219,961 and the super PAC backing Santorum, the Red White and Blue Fund, put in $312,150.”
But Romney's outlay of cash will not likely handicap him for future contests. It's not as if Romney will be hurting for cash any time soon. Romney forces reported raising $18 million last month, if one includes super-PAC contributions. Romney, a former venture capitalist at Bain Capital, has obtained most of his money from deep-pocket Wall Street contributors
such as employees of Goldman Sachs ($521,180), JPMorgan Chase ($356,400), and Morgan Stanley ($297,550). By way of contrast, Ron Paul's top contributors
are employees of the U.S. Army ($81,423), Air Force ($60,739), and Navy ($58,267). Paul has called for an end to America's wars in the Middle East, while Romney favored the TARP bailout of Wall Street in 2008.
Santorum campaign officials have tried to make the point that Romney is spending more money per vote during the campaign process. Gingrich made essentially the same argument after the Illinois primary. “To defeat Barack Obama, Republicans cannot rely upon candidates who outspend their opponents seven to one,” Newt Gingrich said in a statement
after the results became clear.
In a season of controversial voting, the Illinois primary also ran into a snag
where some of the paper ballots were the wrong size for scanning machines in 26 of the state's 110 voting jurisdictions.
Photo of Mitt Romney: AP Images