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Romney takes Ohio, 4 other states on Super Tuesday

Last updated on: March 07, 2012 13:15 IST

Mitt Romney has narrowly won the crucial swing in Ohio, a development which could prolong the Republican presidential race, even though the former Massachusetts governor maintained his frontrunner status with wins in four other States on Super Tuesday.

Besides his home state of Massachusetts, Romney won Vermont, Virginia and Idaho. His nearest rival, Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, won North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Romney had taken initial lead in Alaska.

Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, could win only his home State of Georgia, while Ron Paul -- the Congressman from Texas -- was yet to open his account. Paul, however, surprised many by gaining about 40 per cent of the votes in Virginia.

"For Romney, a victory in Ohio could be the best evidence yet that he is an inevitable nominee," said The Washington Post.

Sixty-four-year-old Romney led with 38 per cent of the vote, and Santorum followed with 37 per cent, Newt Gingrich took 15 per cent and Ron Paul had nine per cent in closely contested Ohio.

Super Tuesday is the day in the US campaign calendar, usually in February or early March of an election year, when a large number of states hold primary elections.

According to CNN, Santorum's victories showed his continuing strength among conservative voters, while Gingrich's win in the state that sent him to the Congress allows him to keep his campaign going. "It looks we're going to get at least a couple of gold medals, and a whole passel full of silver medals," Santorum said in his remarks in Ohio.

Romney, in his speech in Boston, focused on attacking Obama.

"It's time to believe in ourselves. It's time to believe in America. And I'm asking you to join our cause. We need your energy and your conviction and your commitment, Romney said.

"To the millions of Americans who look around and can only see jobs they can't get and bills that they can't pay, I have a message: You have not failed. You have a president that's failed you, and that's going to change," Romney said.

To earn the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Obama in November presidential elections, the candidates need 1,144 delegates. So far Romney had 386 delegates, followed by 156, Gingrich (85), and Paul with 40 delegates.

Santorum too attacked incumbent President, saying the November presidential elections is about fundamental liberty, which he alleged is being compromised by Obama. "We built a great country from the bottom up. And we need people to go up against President Obama and his vision of a top-down government control, of not just health care, but of energy and of manufacturing and of financial services, and who knows what else is next," he said in his speech in Ohio.

Gingrich said he still believed that he would be debating incumbent Obama in the fall later this year and identified himself as the tortoise of the 2012 presidential race. "There are lots of bunny rabbits that run through. I am the tortoise. I just take one step at a time," he said in his speech in Atlanta after winning the primary in Georgia.

In an editorial, The New York Times hit hard at Republicans as they have failed to determine their candidate. "The results Tuesday night did not settle the race. Republican voters will have to go on for some time choosing between a candidate, Mitt Romney, who stands for nothing except country-club capitalism, and a candidate, Rick Santorum, so blinkered by his ideology that it's hard to imagine him considering any alternative ideas or listening to any dissenting voice," the daily said.

For Rediff Realtime News on US presidential polls, click here

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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