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AP: Romney Wins Ohio, Holds Off Santorum In Key Swing State

Mitt Romney won in the cities and suburbs, perhaps just enough to hold off Rick Santorum voters in the state's rural areas.

Mitt Romney narrowly defeated Rick Santorum Tuesday in the Ohio Republican primary to claim most of the delegates and the giant symbolic prize that is the Buckeye State.

While some votes remain outstanding, the Associated Press, CNN and other media organizations have called the race for Romney.

Romney performed well in the state's population centers, including Northeast Ohio, but could not defeat Santorum in the state's rural areas, according to results with 96 percent of the precincts reporting.

Romney claimed the counties that included Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and other big cities.

Newt Gingrich played the spoiler role, collecting about 15 percent of the vote.

Here are the unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State:

Candidates
% of VotesNumber Of Votes Romney 37.93% 443,540 Santorum 37.13% 434,088 Gingrich
14.56% 170,194 Paul
9.23% 107,909

Elsewhere on Super Tuesday, Romney won in Massachusetts, Idaho, Vermont and Virginia.

Santorum collected victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Gingrich won in Georgia.

Despite collecting the most wins and delegates Tuesday, Romney still did not perform well enough in Ohio and elsewhere on Super Tuesday to desuade his challengers from stepping aside and giving the former Massachusetts governor a clear path to the GOP nomination.

During a speech in Boston Tuesday night, Romney congratulated his opponents for a hard-fought primary season, but said that his campaign "started an effort to restore the promise of America."

"We sounded our clarion call across the country," Romney said.

Romney said the promise of America is being threatened by the struggling economy brought on by President Barack Obama's policies.

"You have not failed," Romney said. "You have a president that has failed you."

Santorum, speaking Tuesday from a school gym in Steubenville, Ohio, celebrated his victory in three states and said he vows to push on.

“We’ve won in the West, the Midwest and the South, and we’re ready to win across this country," Santorum said to a cheering crowd.

Ohio was perhaps Super Tuesday's richest prize, with 66 delegates up for grabs and a reputation as one of the most important swing states in presidential election politics. Romney and Santorum have for the last week while they bounce around the 10 states voting March 6.

A week ago, showed Santorum leading among Republican voters in Ohio, especially those who considered themselves socially conservative our aligned with the tea party movement.

But Romney's wins in Michigan and Arizona on Feb. 28 and a victory in Washington's caucuses has put the bounce back in Romney's step.

Poll results from NBC News/Marist Poll released on Sunday showed Santorum with , basically a toss-up.

Santorum came into Ohio with a disadvantage. He failed to , meaning he could not compete for nine of the state's delegates.

While much of the campaign has focused on social issues, such as the flap over birth control, the candidates have tried to focus on economic issues in Ohio.

The campaign was also fairly muted in on-the-ground tactics, such as canvassing. Instead, candidates and Super PACs supporting them took to the airwaves, spending roughly $5 million on advertising, with Romney spending the majority of it.

Jake Crouse March 07, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Whew ... that was close. Sure didn't want to live in a state that supported Santorum.

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