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Illinois Primary 2012 Election Guide: Key Races To Watch (PHOTOS)

Posted: 03/17/2012 2:58 pm Updated: 03/20/2012 9:33 am

With the Illinois primary election Tuesday, much attention has focused on the GOP presidential candidates' jockeying for the support of the state's prized delegates.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both arrived in the state Friday to raise funds and rally support. President Obama also returned to his hometown to raise some cash, while Newt Gingrich, after telling an Elgin, Ill., crowd that the Bible was urging his campaign along earlier in the week, headed to Louisiana to continue his campaigning there.

The presidential primary aside, however, Illinois voters will be heading to the polls Tuesday to decide on a number of key congressional and local primary races. At HuffPost Chicago, we've been keeping a close eye on these contests and have narrowed the dozens upon dozens of races down to 12 which we will be tracking carefully in the days ahead as part of our 2012 primary election guide.

Looking for more? The Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune both have elaborate election pages including race profiles, news updates and, in the case of the Tribune, endorsements.

Know of other races you're watching closely this Tuesday? Any shenanigans you're tracking? Let us know in the comments.

U.S. House, 2nd: Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) vs. Debbie Halvorson (D)
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Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. faces in challenger (and former one-term congresswoman) Debbie Halvorson what many are calling his first "real primary challenge." The New York Times reports that Jackson has rarely exerted much effort on the campaign trail as his "campaigns have often seemed more like a formality than a fight." This time around, even as polls continue to show Jackson holding a sizable lead, Halvorson has come out fighting, most recently accusing the congressman of "lying" about her voting record -- which Jackson's camp has described as "like a conservative Republican."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that U.S. Rep. Manzullo is a 10-year veteran congressman. Manzullo, first elected in 1992, is a 10-term, 20-year veteran.

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |