Senator Rick Santorum's campaign stop at a restaurant in Galesburg, Illinois lasted just long enough to shake a few hands and sit down for an exclusive interview with News 8. He told reporter Denise Hnytka that he puts a lot of weight on a win in Illinois.
"We feel very very good about where we stand," he said. "We know this is a long race to go."
Santorum says he plans to ride it all the way to the Republican Convention. Earlier today, he said the odds that it will be a brokered convention, that depends on the vote of each delegate, are increasing. But he said a win in Illinois can change that.
"If Illinois gives us a good win, the odds of a brokered convention go down, because I think our odds of straight out getting the nomination go up. So Illinois can change this race."
54 delegates are up for grabs in the state, but Santorum is only eligible to win 44 of them. The right paperwork wasn't filed in four congressional districts.
News 8 Reporter Denise Hnytka: "What about the fact that you're down 10 delegates right off the bat, just due to the paperwork error. How did that happen?"
Santorum: "As you know, we had to file delegates in December. In December, I was sitting at 2 percent in the polls, driving around in a pick up truck in Iowa, with about 5 people on my national campaign. It took a rather massive volunteer effort. We didn't have a big campaign like Governor Romney to pay people to do these things."
By the numbers, Romney is still outspending Santorum, by as much as 10 to 1, according to Santorum. He says that can only do so much.
"Romney is not going to be able to win by beating up his opponents. At some point the bully runs out of money," Santorum said. "That's what the people of Illinois are figuring out. They want someone who has a bold vision that can contrast with President Obama."
Santorum is defending himself from attacks from Romney, who accuses him and President Obama of being "economic lightweights". Santorum counters, calling Romney an "economic heavyweight", with too much Wall Street experience.
"Governor Romney thinks that being President is the same as being a CEO of a company and it's not. You need to be a leader; you need a vision. The reason Romney is not successful in this race is because he is not provided a plan or vision for our country."