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Superpac backing Romney buys nearly $1 million in TV time here

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Mississippi Farmers Market in Jackson, Miss., Friday, March 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Get ready to see a lot more of those television commercials slamming Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

The Restore Our Future Superpac – which supports former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president – has purchased nearly $1 million in airtime in Illinois.

Romney’s national staff begins arriving in Illinois this weekend, said State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who chairs Romney’s campaign here.

The campaign does not coordinate with the Superpac headed up by Romney supporters.

Santorum, who graduated from Carmel High School in Mundelein, will hold a rally Friday night at Northridge College Prep in Niles, a traditionalist Catholic school, said Joe Zahm, the director of Santorum’s campaign here. Former state Rep. Al Salvi, a fellow Carmel grad, chairs Santorum’s Illinois campaign.

The other candidates are also expected to come to Illinois: Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich’s successor, former Speaker Denny Hastert, is on-board with Romney and will fly around the state with Rutherford next week introducing the delegates running for the right to vote for Romney at the Republican National Convention.

Romney, Gingrich and Paul all fielded a full slate of delegates in Illinois, but Santorum is running delegates in only 15 of the state’s 19 congressional districts.

The new ads blast Santorum, who runs to Romney’s right on most issues, as a big-spender who voted for pork while Romney was cutting taxes in Massachusetts and presiding over the Winter Olympics in Utah.

“A lot of people are turned off and have tuned out of these ads,” Zahm said.

On Saturday, Rick Santorum won the Kansas caucuses. In Wyoming, Mitt Romney won the majority.