Santorum Volunteers Working Hard in Illinois

Volunteers manning phones, getting yard signs out and looking for ways to win despite not having delegates in four of the 18 Illinois Congressional Districts

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Thursday, Mar 8, 2012  |  Updated 10:30 PM CDT
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Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at an election night party at Steubenville High School in Steubenville, Ohio, Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

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Republican hopeful Rick Santorum may have been in Alabama Thursday, but volunteers for his campaign are already hard at work in the Land of Lincoln.

Volunteers in Elgin are manning phones, getting yard signs out and looking for ways to win despite not having delegates in four of the 18 Illinois Congressional Districts.

"We're actually in 14 of the 18 districts. The districts that we're not playing in are mostly in downtown Chicago, where there's not a lot of Republican votes anyway. We're actually excited about what we've got in place," said Jon Zahm.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has already locked up key endorsements across the state and plans to spend election night in the Chicago suburbs. He's not expected to score well in the southern states of Mississippi or Alabama, but a win in Illinois is likely to give him the inevitable title.

"We've got to concentrate on beating Barack Obama, and that's the goal of the Republicans," said Illinois GOP chair Pat Brady, who late last month said it was important the former Massachusetts governor carry the state.

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul also have a full slate of delegates in Illinois, but no one expects TV campaign ads from them.

The prize for winning Illinois: 54 delegates. Residents head to the polls on March 20.

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