- (Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinadli)
- (Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
Mitt Romney had the biggest night of his political career yet. The former Massachusetts governor won six of 10 Super Tuesday contests, including a close election in Ohio.
"Our campaign is on the move and real change is finally on the way. I stand ready to lead our party and I stand ready to lead our nation to prosperity," Romney told a cheering crowd before the Ohio results came in. "I'm not going to let you down. I'm going to get this nomination."
Romney began election night by defeating Texas Congressman Ron Paul in the Virginia contest, getting about 60 percent of the vote to Paul's 40 percent.
Paul was the only one of the four Republican contestants who did not win a caucus or election on Super Tuesday. Looking at the political calendar in the coming weeks, there appears to be little chance he will win any of the upcoming primaries.
Romney's other victories came in his home state of Massachusetts and continued in Alaska, Idaho and Vermont.
Rick Santorum ran up impressive victories in Tennessee and Oklahoma and won the North Dakota caucuses. And although he gave Romney a run for his money in Ohio, what stopped Santorum's momentum in the Buckeye State were the late votes coming in from the larger, more urban counties.
With almost all of the precincts reporting, only about 12,000 votes separated Romney and Santorum in Ohio.
"Nearly a week ago Gov. Romney was behind in some polls by double digits," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. "But Ohio voters responded to his pro-jobs and pro-growth message, and rallied behind him [in] the days before the primary and helped push him to victory tonight."
While election and caucus victories are nice, the icing on the cake is delegates. It takes 1,144 committed delegates to win the GOP nomination. After Super Tuesday's votes were counted, Romney now has 415, Santorum has 176, Gingrich now has 105 and Paul finishes off the group with a scant 47 delegates.
Still, Romney is struggling with the evangelical vote, especially in the South.
"If anything, Tuesday's results confirm that Romney still has some big problems with the base of the party," wrote the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato. "The Republican Party is a Southern party, and he hasn't done well in the South."
Next week's primary schedule will still maintain a southern flavor next week, with Alabama and Mississippi holding elections next Tuesday.