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Illinois' Big Role In Choosing GOP Nominee

Here is a wrap-up of some of the latest political news.

More than a year ago, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) wanted to make Illinois significant in the selection of a Republican presidential nominee. To do so, he invited Republicans around the state to participate in a straw poll to give Illinois' input to national Republican leaders, according to . 

This spring, Kirk, from Highland Park, is getting his wish for Illinois votes to count.

Republicans have not yet gotten behind a consensus candidate for president, which means Illinois' March 20 primary election will matter as the party decides its nominee, GOP leaders told Patch.

Romney Steps Up Campaigning in Illinois After Losses to Santorum

Looking to rebound decisively after a pair of third-place finishes in Alabama and Mississippi last week, Mitt Romney returned to Illinois on Saturday night focused on attacking potential strongholds for Rick Santorum before Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary, the Washington Post reported.

Romney’s Campaign Hits Illinois TV Stations with ‘Wrong Choice’ Ad

A Romney for President commercial calls Rick Santorum “another economic lightweight” and says his economic plan is the worst of all the GOP candidates in Tuesday’s Illinois primary. The commercial, entitled “Wrong Choice,” says Mitt Romney has proposed the boldest plan since Ronald Reagan and has the leadership experience to lead the country.

To Watch “Wrong Choice,” click here.  

Romney and a political action committee backing his candidacy have poured in another $1.35 million into Chicago's TV ad market, sources familiar with the buy told the Tribune last week.

Religion a key issue as Illinois Republicans go to polls

The issue of religious freedom, raised by all four Republican candidates but identified most strongly with Rick Santorum, finds an interested audience as the contest reaches Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Some believe Santorum's religious rhetoric could lure socially conservative voters who feel persecuted for their religious beliefs and who argue that the nation's founding principle of religious liberty is under attack by President Barack Obama's administration.

Illinois pols endorse Romney

Mitt Romney has announced the support of Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross. The campaign also announced the endorsements of seventeen state representatives and one state senator.

“Washington is broken and we need a Washington outsider to fix it,” said House Minority Leader Tom Cross. “Mitt Romney spent his life in the private sector and knows that for our country to start creating jobs again, we need to get Washington out of the way. With Mitt Romney in the White House, voters in Illinois can be confident that they will have a president who will bring jobs back and shrink both the federal government and our federal debt.”

Obama to GOP rivals: Hope they reflect on Lincoln

President Barack Obama returned home for two fund-raisers Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, taking aim at GOP rivals stumping in Illinois in advance of the Tuesday primary as contenders who hardly measured up to another president from Illinois — a Republican, Abe Lincoln.

Romney: Obama Can't Create Jobs Because He's 'Never Had One'

Shaking hands and smiling for cell phone cameras at a Rosemont diner Friday morning, presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised supporters that he would put Americans back to work, according to news reports. 

“The No. 1 issue in America is the strength of our economy,” he said. “And on that issue, this president’s a lightweight. Now it’s not because he’s not smart, it’s because he never worked in the free economy. He’s never had a job in the free economy. It’s hard to create a job if you’ve never had one.”

Two Men Kiss, Get Ejected From Santorum Rally

Two men who kissed one another were kicked out of presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s rally March 16 at a Christian school in Arlington Heights, has reported.

Santorum was 15 minutes into his speech at Christian Liberty Academy when the two men shouted and got the attention of the crowd. They exchanged a kiss, prompting guards to eject them and the crowd to chant “U-S-A” while they were leaving the gym.

About 50 protesters lined the street before the rally with signs that read “LGBT No H8,” “Catholics Against Santorum” and “If I incorporate myself, would you treat me like a person?” LGBT activist Matt Muchowski, who created the Facebook group, Carmel Catholic Alumni Against Rick Santorum, planned the protest.

Santorum spent his senior year at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein and graduated is 1976.

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