Santorum departure reunites couple in Rubio camp

  • Rick Santorum signs autographs after his campaign rally at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights in 2014.

    Rick Santorum signs autographs after his campaign rally at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights in 2014. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Updated 2/4/2016 5:58 PM

Republican Rick Santorum's exit from the presidential race this week means no repeat of the suburban campaign rallies four years ago by the graduate of Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.

It's a disappointment for Santorum convention delegate Kathy Salvi of Mundelein, a former Republican candidate for Congress who attended Carmel at the same time.


She said the timing just wasn't right for Santorum, who finished second to Mitt Romney in the 2012 Illinois primary with backing from the Salvi family.

But Salvi said there's an alternative for her. Her husband, former state lawmaker and U.S. Senate candidate Al Salvi, is an alternate delegate for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

"Now he's my choice," she said.

"It may seem we're a split household," she said. "But we're very, very happy about the Rubio candidacy."

Following suit

Santorum finished Monday's Iowa caucuses without much support and threw his endorsement to Rubio.

Top Illinois backers on the Republican side think the state's March 15 primary could be decisive as the field continues to narrow.

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First, though, comes New Hampshire. Voters in the nation's first primary go to the polls Tuesday.

Rookies the same year

State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat, entered the Illinois Senate the same year as President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to speak to lawmakers in Springfield Wednesday. So did Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont.

Link said he hopes to have a minute or two to speak to the president. The speech comes at a time when Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers remain sharply divided over Illinois' present and future.

Any chance the country's top Democrat giving a speech about bipartisanship might backfire?

"The guy is still the president of the United States," Link said. "He just happens to be a former colleague."


Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger talked to reporters Thursday about how the state's deficit continues to grow without a budget in place.

The Lincolnshire Republican argues, as Rauner does, that the state needs to make changes other than just raising taxes to cover the deficit because, among other reasons, taxes would have to go unreasonably high to make up for the state's financial problems.


And she pushed back against Democrats' most recent attempts to pay for colleges, universities and need-based scholarships.

"It doesn't help to promise spending when there's no money to write the check," she said. "And that is what our state has done for a very long time."

But Munger also said she thinks a tax increase of some kind might be inevitable.

"We are going to have to raise revenue, I believe," she said.

"Some of the things that the governor is asking for in his Turnaround Agenda actually allow businesses to lower costs so they can absorb revenue increases and still stay here in Illinois," she said.

Kirk touts endorsements

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, is touting endorsements from several suburban township GOP organizations, including Maine, New Trier, Evanston, Northfield, Barrington, Riverside and Leyden.

Kirk is running for a second term in the Senate and faces opposition in the primary from political newcomer James Marter of Oswego.

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