Updated Monday afternoon
Rep. Ron Paul was named the winner of the as the state’s Republicans showed their preference for their party’s presidential nomination to oppose President Barack Obama.
"I congratulate Congressman Paul on his victory," Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady said in a statement. "It is clear Illinois Republicans are gearing up for a tremendous year in 2012."
Paul took 52 percent of the votes cast both online since Oct. 29 and in person Saturday in 20 locations throughout the state, including the . Georgia businessman Herman Cain was second (18 percent), former Massachusetts Mitt Romney third (14 percent), and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich fourth (9 percent).
Far behind were Texas Gov. Rick Perry (2.5 percent), former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (1.5 percent), former Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann (1.1 percent).
With the early stages of the 2012 presidential election already unfolding in the nation's primary states, Illinois Republicans are hoping to make an impact of their own.
"This poll is really an opportunity for Illinois voters to have a voice in this presidential election, which is great because there's a lot of interest and excitement right now both nationally and locally," said Sig Vaznelis, chairman of the Cook County Republican Party.
A vote in the straw poll cost $5.
According to the Illinois Straw Poll website, voters must make a monetary contribution "to help the defray the costs of running the straw poll." Because Illinois does not have party registration, the Illinois Republican Party believes that requiring a contribution "will help limit the straw poll to committed Republicans who are legally qualified to vote."
Vaznelis said the money raised through the straw poll will go to the Illinois GOP, which will distribute the money to county Republican groups across the state.
"The money will be used to get the vote out next year," Vaznelis said. "There's a perception that this state is totally blue, but we feel that Illinois is in play."
For more information on the straw poll, visit www.illinoisstrawpoll.com.