Sweet column: Clinton hunting for Illinois votes.

SHARE Sweet column: Clinton hunting for Illinois votes.

LAS VEGAS — Native daughter Hillary Rodham Clinton is sending in staff to help land some delegates in the Feb. 5 Illinois primary, ramping up an operation in the Land of Obama because the name of the game in winning the Democratic presidential nomination is collecting delegates.

Illinois is not a winner-take-all state when it comes to claiming the delegates to be elected Feb. 5 from each of the 19 congressional districts in the state, which is why Clinton has a chance of picking up some delegates in Barack Obama’s home state.

If Clinton meets a threshold of 15 percent of the statewide vote and then gets at least 15 percent in a congressional district, she will be able to claim delegates, the number depending on her turnout.

Because New York also doles out delegates in proportion to the vote, Obama has been making incursions into Clinton’s adopted state. A reason John Edwards will continue to be a factor — though he has not scored any wins — is that he is picking up delegates along the way, even if not winning any states.

Clinton was born in Chicago at Edgewater Hospital, reared in Park Ridge and has a base in Illinois of friends and former Clinton administration appointees who have formed the core of her Illinois operation. And though Obama has raised millions of dollars from Illinois for his White House war chest, so has Clinton.

Clinton campaign spokesman Stacy Zolt Hara said several field staffers will arrive Monday, and Hara will switch her status from volunteer to staffer now that the Feb. 5 contests in Illinois and about 20 other states are coming into play.

Hara said Clinton has strengths in some Downstate districts and suggested that Clinton will be making a targeted geographic play. Obama has also been organizing in Illinois since he launched his Chicago-based campaign nearly a year ago.

Clinton is “playing here to win as many delegates as possible,” Hara said.

The Latest
Zach Whitecloud scored from long range with just over 13 minutes left, after Adin Hill made arguably the best save of the playoffs, and Vegas beat Florida 5-2.
Kenyon Taylor, 19, was shot in the 4800 block of West Adams Street, police said.
“This is a jarring reminder of why all gun owners must store their firearms in a safe and responsible manner,” Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick L. Kreis said in a statement.
Cubs right-hander Hayden Wesneski will fill in for Steele in the rotation.
Police found the man with a gunshot wound to the head in the 1400 block of West 49th Street, police said.