DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Mitt Romney’s victory in Illinois came as no surprise. It further cements his path to the Republican nomination in the primary. Romney has won nearly half the 1,144 delegates needed to become the nominee.

While Rick Santorum is favored to win in Louisiana on Saturday, April is shaping up to be a good month for Romney. He will most likely win most states, including the biggest prize — New York — which has 95 delegates.

Santorum will likely win his home state of Pennsylvania. But perhaps his last chance to make waves in the race will be in Wisconsin on April 3. Even so, Santorum won’t likely gain enough momentum to change the outcome in enough other states.

Santorum and Newt Gingrich vow to stay in the race to the end in an effort to keep Romney from reaching the necessary delegates. But many analysts believe a brokered convention will not happen, as once previously thought possible.

Romney may not be well-liked by conservatives, but he racked up votes from Tea Party members in Illinois and in other states. He has won votes in large cities and in their surrounding suburbs. Santorum has won in rural areas. Conservatives criticize Romney, saying he won by airing repeated negative campaign ads against his primary opponents instead of running a positive campaign about himself and his record. But in campaign appearances, Romney continues to attack President Barack Obama and tries to persuade Republicans to come together behind him. Even conservatives who have voted for Santorum or Gingrich have said they will back Romney if he’s the nominee.

That may prove to be one of Romney’s biggest challenges in the fall.

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