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Romney takes Hawaii, stops Santorum’s winning streak and adds to delegate lead

March 14, 2012

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum made headlines with victories in the Mississippi and Alabama primaries Tuesday night, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wasn’t shut out entirely. Romney prevailed in the Hawaii caucuses, adding nine delegates to the 23 he picked up in the two proportional Dixie primaries and increasing his total for the campaign to 496.

Santorum won five delegates in Hawaii, while Texas Rep. Ron. Paul won three. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the GOP nomination at the Republican convention, scheduled for late August in Tampa.

With 100 percent of the precincts in Hawaii reporting, Romney took first place with 4,250 votes – 45.4 percent of the total. Santorum placed second with 2,369 votes, or 25.3 percent. Paul pulled in 1,712 votes, or 18.3 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished last with 1,034 votes, or 11 percent. According to the Star-Advertiser, it was the first time Hawaii voters “had a voice” in selecting the Republican nominee.

Prior to Romney’s win in Hawaii, Romney had finished second to Santorum in three consecutive states: the two Southern states on Tuesday and Kansas on Saturday. Romney, however, had won delegates in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands over the weekend, and he won nine delegates in American Samoa on Tuesday as well. He needs 76 of the 190 delegates still at stake in March to reach 572 delegates, the halfway point to the nomination. After all of Tuesday's results were tabulated, Romney added to his delegate lead by a net total of six.

The remaining GOP contests in March are in Missouri (March 17), Puerto Rico (March 18), Illinois (March 20) and Louisiana (March 24).

Fresh off his wins along the Gulf Coast, Santorum spoke to supporters in Louisiana, saying, “We did it again.” With early voting already under way in Louisiana, Santorum made the most of his appearance in Lafayette. “"You do your job next week, and we will nominate a conservative; and if you nominate a conservative, we will defeat Barack Obama,” he said, according to a report in the Lafayette Advertiser. The paper also reported that Santorum was named an “Honorary Cajun” by Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel on Tuesday.

Speaking to supporters in Birmingham, Ala., Gingrich chastised the “elite media” for calling on him to drop out, even though it was conservative voters in the South and not the media that handed Santorum a pair of wins Tuesday. Gingrich vowed to press on to the GOP convention.

Paul, who is slowly but surely accumulating enough delegates to possibly be a factor in Tampa, will be on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on March 20.

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SOURCES:

Real Clear Politics, delegate count and primary schedule

Hawaii Republicans side with Romney, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 14, 2012

Santorum wins in Mississippi and Alabama, but Romney’s lead in delegates grows by six, Washington Post, March 14, 2012

Santorum wins Republican races in the South as Gingrich falters, SFGate.com, March 14, 2012

Despite losses, Gingrich vows to stay in the race, CBS News, March 14, 2012