Santorum slows Romneys march with sweep

Santorum slows Romneys march with sweep

By: || Updated: 01 Jan 1970 12:00 AM


Washington:
In a sharp retort to frontrunner Mitt Romney's prediction that his
campaign is reaching a "desperate end", Rick Santorum turned the
Republican nomination battle into a two-man race with wins in Alabama and
Mississippi.




Former Massachusetts governor Romney, rejected again by Southern
conservatives in the Tuesday primaries, was battling for second place with
former speaker Newt Gingrich, who too had banked on the two southern
states after winning South Carolina and Georgia.




However, Romney won a consolation prize in Tuesday's races with victories
in the caucuses of Hawaii and the US territory of American Samoa.




In Alabama, former senator Santorum won 35 per cent of the vote. Gingrich
and Romney both had 29 per cent-although Gingrich was about 2,000 votes
ahead with 99 per cent of the vote counted. House member Ron Paul had five
per cent.




With 99 per cent of the vote counted in Mississippi, Santorum had 33 per
cent. Gingrich was at 31 per cent, Romney at 30 per cent and Paul at four
per cent.




"We did it again," Santorum, whose Alabama and Mississippi victories give
him 10 wins to Romney's 18, told supporters on Tuesday night in Lafayette,
Louisiana, which will hold a Republican primary on March 24.




The state's Indian American governor Bobby Jindal is yet to endorse any of
the four remaining candidates vying for the right to challenge President
Barack Obama in November.




Santorum's wins in Alabama and Mississippi are somewhat of a surprise,
because polls released on Monday showed Santorum running 8-10 points
behind Romney and Gingrich in the two states.




Still, because Alabama's 47 delegates and Mississippi's 37 delegates will
be awarded proportionally, Romney appeared to maintain his delegate lead
and may add to this after more moderate Hawaii's 17 delegates are
distributed.




A delegate estimate on Wednesday showed Romney with a 489-234 lead over
Santorum, giving him a 255-delegate margin.




The estimate had Gingrich at 139 delegates and Paul at 66. The number of
delegates needed to clinch the nomination is 1,144.




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