Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney led the field of four Republican presidential candidates with wins in six states Tuesday, but the frontrunner was unable to definitively emerge as the party’s inevitable standard-bearer.
With 10 states holding their primaries or caucuses, Romney scored victories in Vermont, Virginia, Idaho and Alaska. He also won his home state of Massachusetts with 72 percent of the vote and edged out his chief rival, former U.S. senator Rick Santorum, by one percentage point in Ohio.
“Tonight, we’re doing some counting, we’re counting up the delegates for the convention, and it looks good,” Romney told supporters in Massachusetts Tuesday night. “And we’re counting down the days until November, and that looks even better.”
For his part, Santorum showed continued signs of support among the party’s more conservative votes, winning in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
“We have won in the west, the midwest and the south, and we’re ready to win across this country,” Santorum told a crowd in Ohio.
Meanwhile, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who had not won a primary contest since his sole victory in South Carolina in January, carried his home state of Georgia on Tuesday with 47 percent of the vote.
“We survived the national elites’ effort to kill us in the summer because of you, people who said ‘we’re not going to allow the elite to decide who we are allowed to nominate,’” Gingrich said as he addressed supporters in Georgia.
Congressman Ron Paul, who is yet to carry a state, focused his efforts on the low-turnout caucuses in North Dakota and Alaska, but was unable to win either. Instead, Paul finished second in Alaska and third in North Dakota. He also came in second in Virgina, but was one of only two names on the ballot, along with Romney.
It was in Virginia that signs of Romney’s trouble in solidifying Republican support may have been most apparent. In a contest devoid of Santorum or Gingrich, Romney was able to garner just 60 percent of the vote.
Romney continued to build his delegate count on Tuesday, which now stands at over 400 — more than a third toward the 1,144 needed to secure the party’s nomination. However, his performance on Super Tuesday was not sufficiently dominating to end the primary battle. Instead, all four candidates indicated that they will continue with their campaigns well into March and April.