Illinois Primary may actually matter in 2016 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois Primary may actually matter in 2016

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John Jackson, of SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, at his home in Carbondale on Monday John Jackson, of SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, at his home in Carbondale on Monday

CARBONDALE -- On the day Iowans cast the first votes in the 2016 race for the White House, an SIU political expert is predicting when the Illinois Primary rolls around in six weeks the votes will actually matter.

"And that's unusual," said John Jackson. "We haven't mattered in a lot of years."

With a large Republican field and with only a razor thin margin separating the Democratic candidates, neither party may have settled on its presidential nominees by March 15, when Illinois holds its primary.

"I don't think it's going to be settled," Jackson said. "I think almost certainly on the Republican side it won't be settled by Illinois."

He believes some of the campaigns may even stage rallies in Southern Illinois, a rarity for this region when it comes to national politics.

"I think that is possible," Jackson told a reporter at his Carbondale home Monday afternoon. "It follows if Illinois is important, the candidates will want to be here."

But we won't be the only state in play on March 15. Ohio, Florida, and Missouri also hold primaries that day.

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