Most Santorum delegates in Illinois don't have enough signatures

Updated 1/11/2012 7:05 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Delegates for GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum have filed the minimum legal number of petition signatures to appear on the ballot in just four of Illinois' 18 available congressional districts.

In 10 others, delegates who filed signatures came far short of the 600 required to appear on the ballot, a review of the signatures found. They didn't file any delegates in four districts.

But if no one officially challenges their lack of signatures by a deadline Friday, the delegates will appear on the ballot anyway.

Jon Zahm, Illinois political director for Santorum, said it wouldn't make sense for people to challenge his candidate's delegates.

"It behooves all the candidates not to start a process of petition challenges, because it will only result in fewer choices for voters in the election," he said.

Delegates are chosen from each Illinois congressional district, and they represent their preferred candidate at the party's convention later this summer.

Delegates for Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul all filed a large batch of Illinois delegates.

Santorum had been far behind the leaders in the polls until the week before the Iowa caucuses, when he surged to a second-place showing.

New Hampshire didn't go as well, though, where a fifth-place finish raised questions about the long-term viability of his campaign once again.

Petition signatures have been a problem for some local suburban candidates this year, too. Republican state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan of Des Plaines has withdrawn from the primary ballot after questions about her signatures.

And Republican state Rep. Kent Gaffney of Lake Barrington could see a resolution in challenges to his petitions as early as today.

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