Romney wins six, but fails to deliver a knockout (Second Lead)

March 7th, 2012 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 7 (IANS) Pulling off a narrow victory over Rick Santorum in the key battleground state of Ohio, Mitt Romney surged ahead of the pack, but could not shake off his competition for the Republican presidential nomination.

Though the former Massachusetts governor won six of the ten states in the Super Tuesday primary contests to pick the party nominee to challenge President Barack Obama in November, he failed to win over diehard conservatives backing former senator Santorum.

Santorum’s three victories in the Tennessee and Oklahoma primaries, and North Dakota caucuses, demonstrated his continuing strength among conservative voters, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s win in his home State of Georgia gave him a new boost since his only other primary triumph in South Carolina.

Romney’s failure to attract strong support from tea party and evangelical conservatives dogs him as he heads into the Kansas caucuses Saturday, and primaries in Mississippi and Alabama March 13, analysts said.

But signalling a continued battle for his campaign, Romney told supporters in Boston: “Tonight we’ve taken one more step towards restoring the promise of America.”

“Tomorrow we wake up and we start again. And the next day we’ll do the same. And so it will go, day by day, step by step, door by door, heart to heart.”

Tuesday was the biggest single day of the primary season, and included showdowns in several states that will determine the ability of Santorum, Gingrich and Texas Representative Ron Paul to blunt Romney’s momentum toward what many believe will be his inevitable nomination.

Gingrich and Santorum are focusing on races in those conservative states in their battle to become the lone right-wing challenger to the more moderate Romney.

Romney who had entered Super Tuesday off of three wins last week and a growing lead in the nomination race won his home state of Massachusetts as well as Ohio, Idaho, Vermont, Virginia and Alaska, according to unofficial tallies.

Santorum took North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, Gingrich grabbed a vital triumph in his home state of Georgia, while Paul failed to win in any of 10 states with 419 delegates up for grabs.

Based on the partial results, CNN estimated that Romney had accumulated 404 delegates to 165 for Santorum, 106 for Gingrich and 66 for Paul in all Republican primaries and caucuses held to date. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the party nomination.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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