Illinois primary gains importance to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders after Super Tuesday results

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois primary is less than two weeks away, and the ramifications from Super Tuesday are already elevating the importance of the vote here.

Bernie Sanders is now planning a rally in Grant Park Saturday afternoon, on top of a previously scheduled event Tuesday in Rockford. Joe Biden will be fundraising in Chicago next Wednesday, and there could be campaign stops too now that Super Tuesday momentum is firmly on his side.

It's now a two-man race between Biden and Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

RELATED: Illinois Primary Election 2020: Meet the Candidates

"I think we felt pretty good that we would be competitive coming out of Super Tuesday and would have a good path forward, but I think it's, like, amazing to be on top and have just support from so many different states," said Sheila Nix, Illinois chair of Joe Biden for President.

With Biden surging, Sanders is now focused on regaining momentum. His supporters believe he can and will be able to.

"Look, you know, there has been so much shifting momentum in this race, you can just ask Pete Buttigieg or Elizabeth Warren, momentum is fickle," said Alderman Carols Ramirez-Rosa, a Sanders surrogate.

The older African American vote is considered crucial for Biden's resurgence, which started in South Carolina.

"For black people it's really about relationships," said DelMarie Cobb, political consultant with The Publicity Works. "We are not transactional, we are relational, and so if you have a history with us, if you have a relationship with us, in all likelihood there's going to be a level of loyalty."

RELATED: Vote 2020: Election Information for Voting in Illinois

But Sanders has had success with younger voters, including African Americans and Latinos.

Illinois, with its 184 delegates, will now be a major focus of the race.

"You know, the Bernie Sanders campaign has to talk about how we can make sure that we're turning out the young voters and the voters of color that overwhelmingly support us, but at the same time how we are we winning enough of the older vote?" Ramirez-Rosa said.

"Places like Illinois, I think Joe Biden will do very well. It's also helpful that Mayor Bloomberg got out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden today," said Nix.

Conventional wisdom says while the intensity of a candidate's support is important, the breadth of their support is even more critical.

For Sanders, that means trying to broaden his coalition; for Biden's, it's keeping his energized which, at the moment, is something that momentum is providing.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.