Mitt Romney's campaign has announced that the kinda/sorta GOP presidential frontrunner is pulling out of a planned debate in Portland next Monday—a decision that could give Mayor Sam Adams his wish and lead to the cancellation of the entire thing.
Or not. According to the Oregonian, "Oregon Republican Chairman Allen Alley said last week that it was possible sponsors would try to proceed just with the other three remaining GOP presidential candidates."
So how is Romney planning to spend next Monday instead? Campaigning and raising cash in Illinois. And it's hard to blame him. The state—and control over its 66 Republican delegates—looms as an essential prize in the race, especially after Romney's not-so-overpowering slate of wins on Super Tuesday and Rick Santorum's Saturday victory in Kansas.
The question is whether Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul also rearrange their schedules to make hay in the Land of Lincoln. As the Chicago Tribune explains:
The current GOP presidential contenders are outlining plans to make their first forays into Illinois as real campaigners instead of simply hitting fundraising events. Illinois is being looked upon as holding a special cachet — not just for its trove of convention nominating delegates, but also for the symbolism of being the home state of Democratic President Barack Obama.
Romney supporters said privately that they hold hopes that a victory in Illinois could be the knockout blow Super Tuesday failed to deliver. Similar sentiments have been floated after Romney wins in earlier states, only to see rivals Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul still standing.