Republican Mitt Romney is a step closer to winning his party’s nomination for the presidency after a comfortable win in the Illinois primary. He defeated his closest rival, Rick Santorum, by 47 percent to 35 percent.
Romney now has twice as many delegates at the nominating convention as Santorum.
The win gave Romney a fresh burst of momentum in the White House campaign and new ammunition for his argument that it is time for Republicans to rally around his campaign and end an increasingly bitter nominating battle.
Romney’s campaign has argued that his rivals cannot catch him in the contest to pick a challenger to Obama in the November 6 election.
Santorum and Newt Gingrich hope to keep Romney from capturing a majority of delegates by the time the nominating contests end in June, leaving the choice up for grabs among the party’s mostly conservative delegates heading into the August nominating convention in Tampa, Florida.