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

Posted March 6th, 2012 at 7:20 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 won the last five contests leading up to Tuesday, hopes to use the Super Tuesday races 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.

In early results, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich won Georgia, the southeastern state he represented in Congress for two decades. Romney was expected to win Vermont, as well as Virginia, where only he and U.S. Representative Ron Paul were on the ballot.

Romney voted 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 virtual tie.

Romney was confident after casting his ballot.

“As I said, I'm hoping for a good win here in Massachusetts and what happens elsewhere, I don't know. But I think we'll pick up a lot of delegates and this is a process of gathering enough delegates to become the nominee and I think we're on the track to have that happen.”

On Monday, Santorum and Romney both campaigned 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.”

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

Representative 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.

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

President Obama, whose approval ratings have been gradually improving, told a 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 before the pro-Israel group, while Romney and Gingrich spoke by video link.