‘Super Tuesday’ Voters Make Mark on US Republican Presidential Race

Posted March 6th, 2012 at 4:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Voters in 10 U.S. states are making known their choice for a Republican presidential candidate, in the biggest day of voting yet in the race to choose the party's nominee.

More than one-third of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination are up for grabs in the “Super Tuesday” nominating contests, more than all the previous primaries and caucuses combined.

Front-runner Mitt Romney, who has won the last five states, hopes to use the contests to establish himself as the inevitable nominee. His main rival, social conservative Rick Santorum, is attempting to regain the momentum that helped him win three states in one day in early February.

Romney is voting Tuesday in Massachusetts, the northeastern state where he once served as governor and where he is expected to win. Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, holds an election night party in the key state of Ohio, where he and Romney are locked in a tight race.

On Monday, Santorum and Romney both campaigned for support in Ohio, the closely watched battleground state.

Ohio voters Tuesday expressed their backing of both Santorum –

“Essentially, I think he can beat Obama and I think he's got the answer for the future of America.”

… and Romney.

“I like the guy. He's not necessarily my favorite candidate on all issues, but quite frankly, I think he's the most likely to be able to beat Obama in the general election.”

A new Quinnipiac University survey shows Romney has gained momentum since last week in Ohio and now has 34 percent of likely Republican primary voters, three points ahead of Santorum, who led in Ohio late last month.

Tuesday's contests will move Republicans closer to selecting their candidate to face President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November election.

Meanwhile, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich was courting voters in Georgia and Alabama Tuesday. He is confident of a win in Georgia, the southeastern state he represented in Congress for two decades. Alabama votes next week.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul, who has yet to win a nominating contest, is hoping to do well Tuesday in the three states holding caucus votes — Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota.

Romney is also expected to do well in Vermont, as well as in Virginia, where only he and Paul are on the ballot.

Oklahoma and Tennessee were the other states holding primaries on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, President Obama, whose approval ratings have gradually been improving, told an afternoon news conference at the White House that Republican presidential candidates have been resorting to “bluster and big talk” on the threat from Iran.

Three of the candidates promised Tuesday they will not hesitate to use America's military might against Tehran. Santorum, Romney and Gingrich addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Tuesday. Santorum appeared in person in Washington to the pro-Israel group, while Romney and Gingrich spoke via video link.