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Real Primary Battle is a Delegate Matter

March 17, 2012 at 10:05 am
Romney Brokered Convention

Romney has full slate, and big names; Santorum lacks candidates in 4 congressional districts

Republican contenders Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are locked in a fight to snag delegates in Tuesday’s Illinois primary — but the contest giving the state a rare say in determining a presidential nominee almost didn’t happen.

On a mid-January afternoon, minutes before closing time at the State Board of Elections in Springfield, each campaign’s Illinois operatives filed a flurry of paperwork aimed at crippling the other’s chances.

Romney allies challenged Santorum’s spot on the ballot, as well as virtually all of his delegates. In turn, Santorum allies contested Romney’s candidacy petitions, along with those of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

It was, one presidential campaign aide said, a true “standoff,” the potential for mutually assured destruction that could have left empty Illinois’ presidential ballot.

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