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Romney Looks to Build Lead With Illinois Primary

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney battle for Illinois
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Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney battle for Illinois

There will be no knockout punch, but an increasingly confident Mitt Romney expects to tighten his grasp on the Republican presidential nomination with the Illinois primary.

Romney is surging in Illinois polls after the race was seen as a statistical tie just a week ago. He's riding momentum from a lopsided weekend victory in Puerto Rico punctuated by apparent missteps from rival Rick Santorum on the eve of Tuesday's Illinois contest.

Romney's wife, Ann, suggested in recent days that Illinois voters could send a strong message that now is the time to coalesce behind one candidate. Romney is eager to move beyond the expensive and extended Republican contest to focus on President Barack Obama in the general election. But he's struggled to win over skeptical conservatives.

"I fully expect him to win ... and when he does, I think it'll be yet another step towards the nomination," said Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who campaigned alongside Romney on Monday. "You know this is the only candidate the White House fears about winning the nomination."

Romney has already captured more delegates than his opponents combined.

Total Cost: $58,065Tuition: $43,840Room & Board: $13,980Fees: $245Claremont McKenna, located near downtown Los Angeles, accepted only 12.4 percent of its applicants for the class of 2016, a rate that admissions counselor Brandon Gonzalez said ensures that students here will be going to school only with other top students.�The class of 2016 will be one of the most talented groups of students we have ever seen,�  The school will charge these students a tuition of $21,920 per semester, or $43,840 for the entire academic year, incurring a total cost of
Total Cost: $58,065Tuition: $43,840Room & Board: $13,980Fees: $245Claremont McKenna, located near downtown Los Angeles, accepted only 12.4 percent of its applicants for the class of 2016, a rate that admissions counselor Brandon Gonzalez said ensures that students here will be going to school only with other top students.�The class of 2016 will be one of the most talented groups of students we have ever seen,� The school will charge these students a tuition of $21,920 per semester, or $43,840 for the entire academic year, incurring a total cost of

There are 54 delegates up for grabs in Tuesday's primary. But Santorum can't win 10 of them because his campaign didn't file the proper paperwork.

That means Romney is likely to win the delegate battle, even if he loses the popular vote. Still, Romney and his allies have spent a combined $3.5 million on Illinois television ads to try to prevent that from happening.

Santorum may not have helped himself Monday, when he suggested that neither the economy nor the unemployment rate was his top concern. He later explained his comments as being about freedom, not the economy.

"The problem with the economy is government taking people's freedom away and advancing regulations, destroying and undermining businesses ability to be problem solvers," he told Chicago radio station WLS. "Americans don't take kindly to the yoke of government, and we don't do very well. Our economy struggles when that happens."

The original comments sparked a rash of criticism that Romney picked up on at his final campaign stop of the day at Bradley University in central Illinois.

"One of the people who is running also for the Republican nomination today said that he doesn't care about the unemployment rate," Romney told college students in Peoria. "It does bother me. I want to get people back to work. I am concerned about those how are out of work."