POLITICS
03/20/2012 08:52 am ET

Rick Santorum Illinois Primary 2012 Outlook: Candidate Faces Tough Fight In The Land Of Lincoln

(AP/The Huffington Post) GETTYSBURG, Pa. — As Illinois Republicans vote in the state's presidential primary, GOP hopeful Rick Santorum is reconnecting with a son of Illinois remembered for one afternoon he spent in Pennsylvania.

Santorum plans to watch Tuesday's results from Illinois at a campaign party in Gettysburg, Pa., the venue for President Abraham Lincoln's famous Civil War address.

Santorum had campaigned in Illinois and looks to continue his trend of doing well in rural, conservative areas while largely ceding urban areas to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.

Complicating Santorum's ambitions going into Tuesday's contest is the fact that the former senator failed to get his name on the ballot in some of the state's congressional districts. The Chicago Tribune reports:

So why is Santorum at a disadvantage? He's only eligible to win 44 of the 54 total delegates at stake today, because he failed to come up with delegates who'd support him in four of the state's 18 districts -- the Chicago-based 4th, 5th and 7th districts, and the downstate 13th district that includes Springfield.

Santorum aides cast his decision to return to Pennsylvania as a nod to Illinois' famous son. It's also a political move. Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the House and the Senate, and his aides have said he must do well there to continue a campaign that lags behind Romney in terms of money, organization and delegates.

Heading into Tuesday, The Associated Press delegate count showed Romney had amassed 521 delegates. Santorum had 253, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 136 and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had 50.

Romney is on pace to collect the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination in June unless Santorum or Gingrich is able to start posting decisive wins. Neither Santorum nor Gingrich has signaled he will exit the race. That could mean they will continue to split the vote of conservatives voters who have never warmed to Romney.

Check out the slideshow below for more on the Santorum campaign.

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