Super Tuesday: Romney Prevails In Ohio
In a heated Ohio primary, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum battled it out down to the last vote before Romney edged Santorum to win the most competitive of the 10 Super Tuesday contests.
With 97 percent reporting, Romney won with 38 percent of the vote and Santorum was close behind with 37 percent, according to CNN projections.
For a large chunk of the race Santorum held a steady lead over Romney, according to the CNN live blog. Romney surged late in the evening to overcome the former Pennsylvania senator and narrowly cling on to the win.
Newt Gingrich finished a distant third with 15 percent of the vote and Ron Paul followed with 9 percent. Romney garnered strong support from the urban areas of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, while Santorum polled well in rural counties.
With 66 delegates at stake, Ohio is the second largest prize of Tuesday’s contests, behind Georgia’s 76 delegates. But the Buckeye State's status as a traditional general election battleground made it a key component of the GOP’s plan to unseat President Barack Obama in November. No Republican has ever won the presidency without capturing Ohio in the general election.
Four in 10 Ohio voters cited electability as the most important quality in a candidate, while only one in six were looking for a "true conservative," according to exit poll results. About 52 percent of voters said Romney can defeat Obama and only 27 percent said Santorum.
Exit polls also showed that Ohio Republicans are deeply concerned with the direction of the national economy, with seven in 10 voters saying they were "very worried." More than half of voters picked the economy as the most important issue in their vote.
Numbers revealed that Ohio primary voters generally lacked enthusiasm for the GOP candidates, with barely more than four in 10 saying that they were strongly behind their candidate, according to the Washington Post.
Romney’s victory came after outspending Santorum by about a 4 to 1 margin in Ohio, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The former Massachusetts governor and his super PAC, Restore Our Future, spent more than $4 million on television and radio spots in Ohio, compared to Santorum’s and his super PAC’s $968,000.
Ohio awards 48 of its delegates on a winner-take-all basis within each congressional district. Fifteen are allocated based on the final vote total and three are unbound delegates.
In Georgia: Gingrich with 47%, Romney with 26%, Santorum with 20%, Paul with 7% (99 percent reporting)
In Massachusetts: Romney with 72%, Santorum with 12%, Paul with 10%, Gingrich with 5% (99 percent reporting)
In Tennessee: Santorum with 37%, Romney with 28%, Gingrich with 24%, Paul with 9% (96 percent reporting)
In Virginia: Romney with 60%, Paul with 40% (99 percent reporting)
In Vermont: Romney with 40%, Paul with 25%, Santorum with 24%, Gingrich with 8% (99 percent reporting)
In North Dakota: Santorum with 40%, Paul with 28%, Romney with 24%, Gingrich with 8% (76 percent reporting)
In Oklahoma: Santorum with 34%, Romney with 28%, Gingrich with 27%, Paul with 10% (99 percent reporting)
In Idaho: Romney with 62%, Santorum with 18%, Paul with 18%, Gingrich with 2% (89 percent reporting)
In Alaska: Romney with 32%, Santorum with 29%, Paul with 24%, Gingrich with 14% (99 percent reporting)