US Republican Presidential Race Shifts to Kansas, Wyoming

Posted March 10th, 2012 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has handily won the caucuses in the midwestern state of Kansas, a boost for his campaign as he seeks to eclipse front-runner Mitt Romney in the race to take on President Barack Obama in November.

The western state of Wyoming was also concluding its caucus voting on Saturday. A total of 52 delegates was at stake in the two contests — 40 in Kansas and 12 in Wyoming.

Romney added to his lead overnight when he won all nine delegates on the island of Guam and another nine in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Romney did not campaign in Kansas, while Santorum and Texas Congressman Ron Paul both held events in the days before the caucuses. Former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich also canceled a scheduled trip to Kansas to focus on the southern states of Alabama and Mississippi, which hold their primaries on Tuesday.

Santorum had hoped to do well in Kansas, where his socially conservative views were expected to appeal to the state's large population of evangelical voters.

Earlier this week, Romney won six of the ten state contests held on “Super Tuesday,” including a narrow victory in the crucial battleground state of Ohio.

More than one-third of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination were up for grabs Tuesday — more than all of the previous primaries and caucuses combined.

Romney also secured victories Tuesday in Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Vermont, while Santorum won races in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, and Gingrich won Georgia — the southeastern state he represented in Congress for two decades.

The Republican Party will formally nominate its presidential candidate at its convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August. The eventual nominee will face President Obama, a Democrat, in the November election.