Clinton heads toward Illinois with an edge

  • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledges supporters after winning the South Carolina Democratic primary.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledges supporters after winning the South Carolina Democratic primary. Associated Press File Photo

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders

    Sen. Bernie Sanders

 
By Mary Hansen
mhansen@dailyherald.com
Updated 3/3/2016 9:06 AM

With two weeks until the Illinois primary, Hillary Clinton already has won the support of top Democratic leaders in the suburbs.

Local elected officials and party leaders make up nearly 15 percent of Illinois delegates, and most of those so-called superdelegates already have pledged support to Clinton, who grew up in Park Ridge and attended Maine East and Maine South high schools. Voters will choose other delegates for Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the March 15 primary.

 

Among superdelegates backing Clinton are U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, Bill Foster of Naperville and Mike Quigley of Chicago. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was also an early backer of Clinton and has hosted fundraisers for a super-PAC supporting her.

Yet, the majority of delegates remain to be chosen.

Sanders drew thousands to a rally last week at Chicago State University, which has threatened to close after the political battle over the state budget shut off funding.

"Illinois is not a knockout," Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said of Clinton's campaign in Illinois.

Clinton held a rally in mid-February with Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Naperville resident Sandra Bland, who was found dead in a Texas jail cell last summer, sparking national protests.

In all, Illinois Democrats will send 182 delegates to Philadelphia for the national nominating convention in July. Of those, 156 are decided by the primary vote on March 15 and 26 are superdelegates.

Nationally, Clinton outpaces Sanders in number of superdelegates.

According to a count by Bloomberg News, 452 superdelegates have committed to Clinton while 20 back Sanders.

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