Hopeful supporters of Mitt Romney gathered Monday to predict a big win next Tuesday in Illinois.
"As of close of last weekend, Romney has 454 [delegates] and Santorum had 217," said Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Romney's campaign chair. "It gets down to math," said Rutherford, pointing out Santorum didn't file in four of the 18 Illinois Congressional Districts.
Romney arrives in Illinois next Monday and is expected to appear at an election-night rally near Wheaton. Six staffers have been sent ahead of him to pump up supporters.
Meanwhile opponent Rick Santorum, a 1978 graduate of Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, will appear at a 2 p.m. rally Friday in Elgin and a Niles rally from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Northridge Prep Gym. On Saturday, he heads to southern Illinois.
Candidate Ron Paul will make a stop at the University of Illinois.
Santorum volunteers were seen in Elgin last week manning phones and getting out yard signs ahead of the election.
Newt Gingrich gets into the mix Wednesday to host a rally in Rosemont at the Donald Stephens Convention Center and fundraising events in Barrington and Palatine. On Thursday he will speak to Barrington High School students and a Town Hall later at Judson University.
An Illinois win means 54 delegates. A week away from the primary, there's little doubt Illinois' role in the presidential primary has grown.
"No question Illinois is in play," Rutherford said, admitting Santorum is doing well downstate.
President Barack Obama heads to Chicago Friday for fundraising. The trip includes a swanky lunch at the Palmer House Hilton.