Santorum faces further ballot and delegate issues in DC, Illinois

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Most of those districts are in the Chicago area, which is expected to favor other GOP candidates. But the 13th district, a suburban Republican enclave southwest of Chicago, could have proven more favorable for Santorum.

While the 26 delegates between Illinois and D.C. are unlikely to tip the scales in the eventual delegate race, they're endemic of the problems Santorum has in mounting a viable alternative to Mitt Romney. The 46 delegates Romney picked up in Virginia, for example, provided a cushion that made Super Tuesday a near-definite win in the delegate totals.

But Santorum said Wednesday he's encouraged by the progress of his camapign, brushing off calls to exit the race.

"People should stay in the race as long as they feel they should stay in the race," Santorum said while campaigning in Kansas, according to NBC. "And you know, I'm going to stay in the race because we're doing really well."

He also mocked a Mitt Romney adviser who suggested it would take "an act of God" to catch the former governor in the delegate race.

"If the governor thinks he's now ordained by God to win, then let's just have it out," Santorum said.