VERNON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) --Presidential candidates have turned their laser sharp focus on Illinois before the crucial March 15 Illinois primary.
Hillary Clinton's rally Thursday night in north suburban Vernon Hills drew over 1,000 attendees. Eight hundred people crowded into the Sullivan Center gymnasium, 450 more watched her speech on an overflow room and several hundred more stood outside the center listening to Clinton's speech on speakers.
Clinton sharpened her economic message during her rally, but she also drew on her personal connection to Illinois and the Chicago area in particular.
"I am a child of Chicago and the suburbs. I was born in Chicago, I grew up in Park Ridge," she said at the rally.
"I'm looking for a candidate who has the chances to win in November and promote actual change in Washington, and I believe Hillary is that candidate," says Alec Perlow of Grayslake as he waited to get into the rally.
Some attendees preferred Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' message, but said they would vote for Clinton as well.
"My heart's for Bernie, but my heart can be for Hillary if she's our nominee," said Maureen Heun.
"He's the best candidate, but you know what, we can't go wrong with Hillary," said Katie Steele. "You can't go wrong with either of them."
After the event, Clinton stayed and shook hands with supporters who wanted to meet her. Former President Bill Clinton will campaign for her in Peoria on Friday.
Friday, Donald Trump holds a rally at the UIC Pavilion, while Senator Ted Cruz will be in the suburbs before ending up at the Palmer House in Chicago.
Bernie Sanders will also be in in the area Friday, visiting southwest suburban Summit, Ill.
Sanders rallied supporters Thursday at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
"As of today we have already won nine states. And on Tuesday we've got five states coming up, including Florida. If you guys come out to vote, we'll pull off an upset here as well," Sanders said.