Illinois primary

With a decisive victory in Illinois, Mitt Romney is firmly in the driver's seat of the Republican presidential nomination contest.

In a victory speech in Schaumburg, Ill., the former Massachusetts governor thanked his Republican opponents, but very quickly pivoted to the general election against President Obama.

"It's time to say this word," said Romney. "Enough. We've had enough... We need a president who believes in us."

This Romney speech even sounded different. With Romney restating the big ideals of his campaign, it sounded like an acceptance speech.

By the time Republican primary season got around to Illinois in past election cycles, the Land of Lincoln was pretty much an afterthought since the party's nominee had already been decided. Not this time.

Mitt Romney has what seems like an insurmountable lead in delegates. But there are questions as to whether he can reach the 1,144 needed for the nomination by the party's August convention. And with his rivals, especially Rick Santorum, refusing to exit the race, the GOP primaries have entered the grind-it-out-for-every-delegate phase.

Joseph Leahy, SLPR news

East St. Louis lays off more employees

A tight budget has forced East St. Louis to lay off seven more employees, leaving the city's police officers without a support staff.  

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the latest layoffs include Police Chief Michael Floore's secretary, the department's director of community programs and a records room employee responsible for logging all of the city's tows.

The city also cut employees in the mayor's office, the city clerk's office and the city treasurer's office.

This week the action in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is in Illinois, which holds its primary Tuesday.

In advance of that contest, Public Policy Polling is out with a new survey that it says shows "Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory." It has the former Massachusetts governor ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 45 percent to 30 percent (with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul trailing far behind).

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

St. Charles County caucus likely to be rescheduled

The Republican caucus in St. Charles County is likely to be rescheduled after a weekend dispute forced the caucus to be shut down.

The caucus in St. Peters on Saturday ended when tension flared between members of the crowd and the local Republican activists who were running it. St. Charles County was to have been among the biggest prizes in Missouri. The meeting adjourned without awarding delegates.