Election 2012: GOP hopefuls vie for Illinois primary win

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are set for a key face-off in Illinois.

Presidential hopefuls are vying for votes Tuesday in Illinois as the residents in the prairie state get their chance to weigh in on the race for the White House.

Leading in the polls, Mitt Romney is looking to walk away with another win, while the other top contender Rick Santorum is also hoping to land in the top spot. With 54 delegates up for grabs—it’s been back and forth battle between the two over the past 24 hours.

“We are not going to be successful in replacing an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight,” Romney said at a campaign event.

“I heard Governor Romney here called me an economic lightweight because I wasn't a Wall Street financier like he was,” Romney said.

According to a new poll, whoever gets the nomination may have a tough time against President Obama in the swing state of Virginia in the general election. The new Quinnipiac poll shows Obama leads Romney 50 to 42 percent—the president edges out Santorum 49 to 40 percent and he's got at least a ten percent lead on the other two candidates.

Newt Gingrich is hoping to get better numbers in Louisiana Saturday. Tuesday morning, while speaking about energy, Gingrich compared himself to the president.

“I want jobs in Louisiana he wants jobs, I want royalties to go to Louisiana he wants to go to Saudi government,” Gingrich said, referring to the president.

Later this week, one of the candidates will be in our area. Mitt Romney is expected to campaign in Maryland with former Governor Bob Ehrlich.

Maryland's primary is scheduled for April 3rd.