Presidential candidates work to get on Illinois ballot
Republican presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump turned in their lists of convention delegates today, as did Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Other candidates have until Wednesday to turn in their slates of supporters that voters will pick from in the March primary. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio filed to get his name on the March ballot but didn't turn in a list of delegates yet.
Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders has set a news conference for Wednesday to announce the campaign's slate.
Delegates represent a candidate at this year's party conventions and as a result can become some of their public supporters.
Some of Trump's Illinois supporters hadn't been widely public, but among the delegates filed today was Bob Bednar of Mundelein, a former candidate for Illinois House.
"He pretty much tells you the way it is," Bednar said of Trump. "There's no sugarcoating."
Among Republicans, Bush named some of the suburbs' most high-profile delegates, including RTA Chairman and former GOP contender for governor Kirk Dillard, former House Republican Leader Tom Cross, former DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom and state Sens. Chris Nybo of Elmhurst and Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles.
"I am proud of the strong ground organization we have built in Illinois and across the country for the long haul," Bush said in a statement.
Christie's delegates include former state Rep. Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst. The Cruz campaign is being co-chaired by GOP Republican leader Chris Cleveland.
Clinton counts among her delegates Democratic state Reps. Lou Lang of Skokie, Linda Chapa LaVia of Aurora and Jack Franks of Marengo, as well as state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan.
"We're building our campaign in Illinois from the ground up, driven by a grass-roots coalition that knows Hillary Clinton is the candidate who can stop Republicans from stripping away the progress that we've made," Clinton Director of State Campaigns and Political Engagement Marlon Marshall said in a statement.
Some Illinois Republicans see the state as a potential primary battleground that could help put a candidate over the top after early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire winnow the field.
Several GOP heavy-hitters have stayed away from presidential endorsements, including Gov. Bruce Rauner and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park.
U.S. Rep. Bob Dold, a Kenilworth Republican, said he's not made a decision in the race but said he won't support Trump. Dold pointed to inflammatory comments, such as one where Trump said Arizona Sen. John McCain is "not a war hero."
"That should be a disqualifier right off the bat," Dold said.