CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have begun rolling into Illinois ahead of next week’s primary. And what was once expected to be a primary with no real consequences could matter after all.

Front-runner Mitt Romney’s inability to sew up the race the past few weeks has given hope to Rock Santorum. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are further behind Romney, but both are also staying in the race.

Gingrich started campaigning in Illinois yesterday with stops in Chicago’s suburbs. And Paul was planning to appear downstate later in the day at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

At stake in the March 20 primary are 54 delegates. Another 15 will be chosen later by party leaders.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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