Paul finishes third in Illinois, blasts GOP budget proposal

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is holding onto third place tonight in the Illinois primary, dealing a further blow to Newt Gingrich's struggling campaign.

With 61 percent of the vote counted, Mitt Romney leads with 48 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum at 34 percent. Paul is third with 9 percent with Gingrich last among still-active candidates at 8 percent. Paul's edge over Gingrich came even though the congressman from Lake Jackson did not actively campaign in Illinois.

Nineteen of Illinois' 54 delegates have been allocated so far, and Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has claimed all of them, padding his already substantial lead in delegates over Santorum.

In another Paul development Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that Endorse Liberty, the super PAC supporting Paul's campaign, said it raised $282,467 last month, bringing its fund-raising total to $4.1 million since the beginning of the race.

While Paul didn't have his eye much on Illinois this week, he did have it on the proposed federal budget released by his fellow Republicans in Congress today, and he didn't have much good to say about it.

“Today, the House Republican leadership released a budget meant to be an alternative to President Obama's budget plan, which was filled with more debt, more deficits, and more taxing and spending," Paul said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the House Republican proposal doesn't go far enough to address the extreme fiscal problems we face as a nation. The House GOP’s budget proposal does not balance the budget until the year 2040, and it adds billions to our already exploding deficits. In fact, this budget doesn't actually 'cut' any spending. It only reduces assumed increases in spending - essentially playing the same game the Washington establishment has played for years with our hard-earned money."

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