Illinois, Romney, Santorum: Did Backroom Deal Screw Voters?

Illinois Primary Results: Rick Santorum wasn’t on the ballot in 4 Illinois’ districts because he didn’t have the required number of signatures. As expected, Santorum lost to Romney, but he still came in a strong 2nd, taking 35% of the vote and 10 delegates.

As this article says, it could have been worse.

Copies of Santorum delegate petitions … show that in 10 other districts, Santorum did not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. (In Illinois, a GOP candidate needs three people — in most districts — willing to be a delegate, plus 600 signatures to get on the ballot.)

Illinois holds candidates to an honor system; the state’s election board doesn’t check signatures unless another campaign makes an official request. Rick Santorum didn’t collect the required number of delegates and/or signatures in 14 of Illinois’ districts.

(In Illinois, a GOP candidate needs three people — in most districts — willing to be a delegate, plus 600 signatures to get on the ballot.)

Santorum needed 3 delegates and 600 signatures, but he couldn’t even get those. So, in most of the districts, Daddy Mitt stepped in.

The Romney campaign initially did challenge Santorum’s petitions in January, but dropped it after the Santorum campaign agreed to drop similar contests of Romney delegates….”

Mitt’s campaign was unlikely to lose any challenges in Illinois, but he made the deal with Rick, anyway. It was reasonable; Romney needed a strong win, and he couldn’t do that if he wasn’t running against Santorum (Virginia, anyone?). Giving Santorum ten more districts in a state he was unlikely to win didn’t hurt Mitt, it helped him. But it helped Santorum, too; he beat Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich (in that order).

Does anyone else see the Romney-Santorum ticket heading our way?

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