Ted Cruz Comes in Second in Illinois After Five-City Blitz

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 15: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a watch party on March 15, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Cruz is in a tight race with Donald Trump in the Missouri GOP primary, while Trump took Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois. Gov. John Kasich won …
Bob Levey/Getty Images

As pivotal March 15 primary results continue to roll in, 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz is looking at a second-place finish in Illinois just one day after a five-city campaign blitz that brought out massive crowds.

With 95.8 per cent of the Illinois vote counted, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has been declared the overall winner with 38.9 per cent of the vote. Cruz is in second with 30.4 per cent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich garnered 19.7 per cent of voters, with now-dropped candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida coming in last with 8.5 per cent. Rubio left the race after a devastating Florida loss on Tuesday.

Cruz held rallies in Rockford, Glen Ellyn, Peoria, Decatur, and Springfield in a 9am to 11pm one-day Illinois campaign blitz that brought out long lines and large crowds, some even to overflowing. The packed-out Peoria crowd was said to have “never sat down” during candidate Cruz’s speech. Cruz’s father, pastor Rafael Cruz, visited the state just days before those Monday rallies, as well.

Illinois awards 69 delegates in the Republican presidential nomination process. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The popular vote winner here will get 15 delegates, while the remaining 54 are decided directly by voters, three from each of the state’s 18 congressional districts.”

That means that Trump will win the first 15 and the rest will be decided as results from individual congressional districts are more clear. Politico listed Trump with 24 delegates in Illinois at 95.8 per cent reporting. Some of the more intricate details of delegate selection in the state have been posted to the Illinois Republican Party website.

Attendees of the fifth Cruz rally in Springfield were given specific instructions on how to select individual delegates pledged to a particular candidate in the Tuesday election.

While Cruz told Illinois rally goers that he and Trump were neck and neck in the state, moving late into Tuesday night Cruz and Trump really ran neck and neck in Missouri. Even with 97.5 per cent reporting on Tuesday night Cruz and Trump remained within a fraction of a percent apart.

Illinois was called around 9:30 EST for Trump.

The Tribune reported that early voting in Illinois was up by large margins this year. This factor may have given Cruz’s late rallies a bit less influence.

Cruz has been heralding the mantra that he is the only candidate left in the Republican race that could beat Donald Trump and continued to do so as Tuesday evening results rolled in.

Trump comes away from the Tuesday races with big victories in at least three states: Florida — a huge win, as it pushed Sen. Marco Rubio out of the race — North Carolina, and Illinois. Trump also won the Northern Mariana Islands, which awarded him 9 delegates.

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