Romney Takes 6 Super Tuesday States, Santorum Nets 3, Gingrich Takes Georgia

hcsp.jpgCBS News projects that Mitt Romney will win Ohio’s key primary contest Tuesday, after a neck-and-neck race with rival Rick Santorum to eke out a victory in the pivotal battleground state.

 

With 96 percent reporting in Ohio, Romney has 38 percent support to Santorum’s 37 percent. Newt Gingrich is in third place with 15 percent and Ron Paul follows with 9 percent.

Mitt Romney has also won primaries in Virginia, Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as the Idaho caucuses. Rick Santorum won primaries in Tennessee and Oklahoma, and in the North Dakota caucuses. In Georgia, Gingrich clinched his first primary victory since South Carolina’s January 21 primary contest. 
Ron Paul did not win any contests on Tuesday, but he did finish second in four states: Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota and Virginia. 
The Associated Press reports that Romney also won Alaska’s Super Tuesday caucuses. According to the AP’s tally, Santorum came in a close second, followed by Ron Paul and then Newt Gingrich. The state’s 24 delegates are allocated proportionally.
With voters in ten states selecting their choice to be the Republican presidential nominee and 419 delegates up for grabs, Super Tuesday could be a make-or-break night for the remaining Republican presidential candidates. 
CBS News estimates show Romney with a total of 361 delegates, Santorum with 112 delegates, Gingrich with 80 delegates and Paul with 24 delegates.
In remarks to reporters following the Ohio call for Romney, his campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said the campaign was “pleased” to have “gained the trust of Ohio voters.”
“Nearly a week ago Governor Romney was behind in some polls by double digits. But Ohio voters responded to his pro-jobs and pro-growth message, and rallied behind him the days before the primary and helped push him to victory tonight,” Williams said.
Speaking out of Boston before his victory was projected in the Buckeye State, Romney stayed positive that his campaign was “going to get more” wins under its belt by the end of the night, and that by his count, the delegate situation “looks good.” 
“Tonight, we’re — we’re doing some counting. We’re counting up the delegates for the convention, and it looks good. And we’re counting down the days until November, and that looks even better,” Romney told an enthusiastic crowd.  With almost all precincts reporting in Massachusetts, Romney, who served as the state’s governor between 2003 and 2007, was ahead overwhelmingly, with 72 percent support.  
In his remarks, Romney went on to accuse President Obama of being “unresponsive” to the wishes of the American people, and blasted him for allegedly operating “by command instead of by consensus.”
“President Obama seems to believe he’s unchecked by the Constitution,” Romney said.  “He’s unresponsive to the will of our people. He operates by command instead of by consensus. In a second term, he’d be unrestrained by the demands of re-election. And if there’s one thing we cannot afford is four years of Barack Obama with no one to answer to.”
A win in Ohio would have been considered a huge boon for either Romney or Santorum on Super Tuesday. For Romney, the victory could signal a return to the so-called inevitability of his candidacy; for Santorum, it would have proven his ability to win in a crucial swing state with a large, diverse population.
Polls showed the two candidates neck-and-neck in the past several weeks, although the most recent surveys trended toward Romney. 
According to the Wall Street Journal, Romney and his super PAC outspent Santorum four-to-one in Ohio, with Romney and his super PAC spending just over $4 million on TV and radio ads in the state, and Santorum and his super PAC spending $968,000.
Source: CBS News

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