Delegating Denver #17 of 56: Illinois

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Total Number of Delegates: 185 Pledged: 153 Unpledged: 32

How to Recognize an Illinois Delegate: Since October 12, 2007, Illinois state law requires all children to observe a moment of silence at the start of every school day. This is not some wishy-washy compromise cooked up by the Cook County liberals to diminish the down-state Bible Belters' push for prayer in public schools. This is a statewide effort, focusing on the youngest citizens, to demonstrate the importance of giving the Illinoisan mouth a minute of rest. In a word, Illinoisans are Illinoisy. They seemingly created America's third-largest city out of thin (hot) air, and Chicago, in turn, spawned the tabloid TV talk shows Donahue and Oprah. The don’t call it the windy city for nothing: Prairie Staters simply will not shut up. Look for delegates who start each of their thoughts with a rhetorical question, which they will quickly answer, citing numerous examples punctuated with pithy observations and inside jokes. All personal reflection is shared frequently and out loud — not necessarily as a way to engage anyone else, but because Illinoisans would rather hear their own great musings than the lesser ideas of others.

Famous Illinoisans: Actors Buddy Ebsen and Sean Hayes; comedians Bill Murray, John Belushi and Bob Odenkirk; sex advisor Dan Savage; arcane playwright David Mamet; adventure novelist Clive Cussler; McSweeney's editor David Eggers; musicians Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Grace Slick, Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan, Ludacris and Andrew Bird; morning -show anchor Harry Smith; model Cindy Crawford; movie critic Roger Ebert; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Famous Illinois Democrats: 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton; first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, Carol Moseley-Braun; 31st governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson; mayor-for-life Richard J. Daley, son of mayor-for-life Richard M. Daley; Harold Washington; Jesse Jackson Jr.

Famous Illinoisans With Denver Connections: Sports Castle, Woodbury Branch Library and Chief Hosa Lodge Architect Jacques Benedict; His Royal Highness Mayor Wellington Webb; nutty professor Ward Churchill; lovely Westword editor Patricia Calhoun; lively Westword writer Drew Bixby; CBS News4 reporters Jim Benemann, Raj Chohan and Rick Sallinger; 9News weathernerd Nick Carter; Denver Broncos safety John Lynch; CU Buff basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik.

State Nickname: The Prairie State, the Land of Lincoln (official); Illinoid, the Constant Highway Construction State (unofficial); FIBs, short for Fucking Illinois Bastards (Wisconsin only) Population: 12,831,970 Racial Distribution: 66% white, 15% black, 4% Asian, 15% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $33,690 Unemployment: 7%

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Sean Cronin