Tuesday, the state of Illinois held their 2012 Republican primary. As expected, Mitt Romney was the big winner, taking 46% of the vote, with Rick Santorum coming in second with 35%, Ron Paul in third with 9% and Newt Gingrich in last with 8%.
First off, I'd like to note that Mittens winning Illinois is not a surprise. It's a deep blue state. It's also the home of the city (Chicago) that the corrupt politics that the Democrat party is famous for going back to the Cermak-Daley political machine, rivaling only Tammany Hall in New York City (also Democrat).
What does this win mean for the field? Well, Romney would like this to be a sign of his inevitability. It may well be. Right now it looks like Santorum needs to win something like 70% of the vote going forward to win enough delegates to defeat Romney. Yet Mittens has his own problem. Even with this win, he's still not near the magic number of 1,144 delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot and avoid a brokered convention.
This time, Rick Santorum would've still lost if Newt had dropped out and conservatives had coalesced, but Mittens' win would've been a good bit smaller (3% instead of 11%). Also, as we've chronicled numerous times, the delegate race would look much different without Newt.
Newt's performance was disappointing, especially from a man who wants to show he's still a legitimate contender. Losing to Ron Paul is not a good way to show you can still come back. I said on Friday that it's time for Newt to bow out, and Illinois further backed that sentiment in my mind.
With every contest of three candidates, we head closer to the aforementioned brokered convention. For those of you who are a fan of it, start dancing. For those of you who join me in the Real World, well, you know why a brokered convention can be a problem.