Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and private equity boss, scored a six-state victory at the “Super Tuesday” elections and strengthened his leadership position among the Republican nominee candidates.
However he did not garner the sweeping delegate numbers that would have made him unassailable in the race for the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Florida this summer. Instead he yielded crucial gains to ultra-conservative rival and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
With 419 delegates potentially up for grabs an overwhelming success would have brought Mr. Romney closer to the 1144 number required to secure the nomination and then challenge President Barack Obama in the general election in November.
Yet Mr. Romney scooped up 212 delegates bringing his total to 415. Mr. Santorum won 84 delegates on Super Tuesday and his overall tally stands at 176. Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich got 72 delegates and an outright victory in his home state of Georgia, putting his total at 105.
Libertarian candidate and Congressman from Texas Ron Paul cornered 22 delegates for an aggregate score of 47.
Among the six states that Mr. Romney won, his narrow win in Ohio was considered especially significant given that no Republican nominee has entered the White House without carrying this heavily populated state offering a prize of 66 delegates. Results for Ohio’s counting came in shortly after midnight, and Mr. Romney said in a victory speech, "I'm going to get this nomination."
Not to be outdone and quite obviously anticipating the challenges of the forthcoming presidential elections Mr. Obama held a rare news conference on the same day. At the interaction with media he repudiated Republican attacks on his foreign policy record, especially the heightened focus on Iran, saying the Republicans were beating the drums of war. "Those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. They’re not commander-in-chief," Mr. Obama added.
In addition to Ohio the states that Mr. Romney carried were Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia. Mr. Santorum took away North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Mr. Paul, who did not win in any state nevertheless benefitted from his success in Virginia, where he only faced Mr. Romney after Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum failed to garner enough pre-election support to get their names onto the ballot.