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Sweet: Bush's slate has big names, Trump has political unknowns

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shows off recent poll numbers during a campaign stop on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Claremont, N.H. | Jim Cole/AP

WASHINGTON — Filing ended Wednesday for the 2016 Illinois presidential primary, and on the GOP side, Jeb Bush’s delegate list includes some of the biggest names in the state while Donald Trump’s delegates are political unknowns.

The large GOP field is expected to narrow by the March 15 vote.

Republicans and Democrats run their presidential delegate elections under different rules. The candidates themselves also must file a separate set of nominating petitions for the Illinois presidential preference ballot.

While the overall vote helps determine the allocation of Democratic delegates, on the GOP side it’s known as a beauty contest — with the election delegates who do the nominating at the political conventions later this year far more important.

By the Wednesday deadline:

• On the Democratic side, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filed to run in Illinois. Filing for the beauty contest with no delegates: Willie Wilson, who ran for Chicago mayor last year; a man by the name of Larry Cohen, who lives at 5700 N. Sheridan Rd.; and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente of San Diego.

The weakness of O’Malley’s bid in Illinois is reflected in the campaign’s inability to run a full delegate slate in the state. Both Clinton and Sanders used the delegate recruitment process to build organizations in Illinois.

• On the GOP side: The struggles of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are reflected in that his campaign did not file delegate slates.

Filing full delegates slates or running delegates in most districts, besides Bush, the former Florida governor, are: billionaire businessman and reality show star Trump; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and retired surgeon Ben Carson.

Among those on the Bush Illinois delegate slate: House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego; U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger. R-Ill.; former Gov. Jim Edgar; veteran GOP activist Maureen Lydon; mega GOP fundraisers Ron Gidwitz, Muneer Ahmad Satter and Reeve Waud; former Attorney General Tyrone Fahner; Illinois Tollway Chairman Bob Schillerstrom; and Regional Transportation Authority Chairman Kirk Dillard.

Big names in the Kasich slate include state Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, the Senate Republican Leader; former state GOP chair Pat Brady and longtime GOP activist Nancy Kimme.

The Rubio slate names include Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, who is co-chair of his Illinois campaign; state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove; and Al Salvi, the GOP Senate nominee in 1996.

Though Santorum was a few years ahead of Salvi at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, it’s Salvi’s wife, Kathleen, who is running as a Santorum delegate.

The Rubio campaign seemed to take a swipe at rivals — perhaps aiming at Trump, who used the help of paid petition passers — saying in a statement, “Unlike other campaigns, 100 percent of Marco Rubio for President’s ballot access signature efforts have been volunteer based. It’s a sign of organizational strength and thriftiness that will get Marco on every ballot using only volunteers.”

While Democrats are mandated under party rules to have gender parity, Republicans are not. Fiorina, the only GOP woman running, is fielding an Illinois slate with more women than her rivals, including Kane County Recorder Sandy Wegman; Jillian Bernas, vice president of the Chicago Young Republicans, who is running for state representative; and Diane Shapiro, who is running for the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Fiorina’s campaign said in a statement, “We are proud that our delegate slate in the Land of Lincoln represents this cross section of Illinoisans and that includes many of our earliest and most passionate supporters.”