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Romney takes Illinois

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 20, 2012 11:00 PM

Mitt Romney won the Illinois GOP primary tonight 47-35 over Rick Santorum tonight with 86 percent of precincts reporting. Turnout was low.

My team at Twitchy.com has all the latest.

An FNC analyst weighs in on the stakes in Louisiana:

The implications for November are worrisome. Do these non-voters vote for the GOP nominee – even if they aren’t turned on by him – in order to defeat President Obama? Or do they stay home then, too?

Keep in mind that if just 5 percent of the GOP base decides to sit it out in November, that alone could spell the difference in not only the presidential race but also in crucial races in the Senate, where the Republicans are trying to regain a majority, and in the GOP’s attempt to keep control of the House.

It is clear that the internecine warfare has hurt the GOP – both as a national brand and as an identifying label for the ultimate Republican nominee. Recent polling now shows a 10 percent deficit for a “Republican” versus a “Democrat.”

What does Illinois mean in the overall scope of the GOP race?

It means that Romney won a primary he needed to win – as usual – and it also means that Santorum seems to always fall short when he has a golden opportunity to take that last step from challenger to front-runner. He has had two previous similar opportunities – Michigan and Ohio – and couldn’t elevate his game in either instance.

Louisiana on Saturday now becomes a must-win for Santorum – and a similarly golden opportunity for Romney to upset Santorum in an “away game.”

Congrats to Romney. Best wishes to Santorum moving forward.

I’ll leave you with a gracious tweet to me from a Romney supporter:

Latest reports show Ron Paul beating Newt Gingrich for third place.

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