GOP Primary Results: Rick Santorum Wins Alabama & Mississippi; Gingrich Second, Romney Third

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Rick Santorum scored another two wins in the race for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night, indicating a potentially protracted race ahead.

The former U.S. Senator won the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, overcoming the financial advantages of Mitt Romney and Southern allegiances to Newt Gingrich.

Santorum strengthened his candidacy as the GOP campaign rolls into a state-by-state delegates battle in the weeks, and very possibly months, ahead.

An aggressive push by Romney to try and capitalize on the still-divided conservative electorate failed to take hold, and he finished third in both states.

Santorum Wins Again

“We did it again,” Santorum said, addressing jubilant supporters in Louisiana, which votes next week. “The time is now for conservatives to pull together.”

The outcome of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries bolstered Santorum’s argument that he should emerge as the final GOP competitor to Romney.

But Gingrich, who finished a close second in both states, noted that he earned about as many delegates as his rivals, and pledged to continue on.

“The elite media’s efforts to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed,” Gingrich said, addressing a subdued crowd here in Birmingham.

“If you’re the front-runner and you come in third, you’re not much of a front-runner.”

Yet Romney may end up no worse than when he started in the delegate count, which will ultimately decide the nominee (if he can win 50 percent or more).

Early Wednesday, Romney was able to add to his delegate tally with a triumph in Hawaii’s Republican caucuses, as well as a victory in American Samoa.

Alabama Republican Primary Results

  1. Rick Santorum 212,343 (34.5%)    
  2. Newt Gingrich 179,919 (29.3%)
  3. Mitt Romney 178,601 (29.0%)       
  4. Ron Paul 30,494 (5.0%)

Mississippi Republican Primary Results

  1. Rick Santorum 93,182 (32.9%)
  2. Newt Gingrich 88,676 (31.3%)   
  3. Mitt Romney 85,922 (30.3%)       
  4. Ron Paul 12,498 (4.4%)

Hawaii Republican Primary Results

  1. Mitt Romney 4,250 (45%)
  2. Rick Santorum 2,369 (25%)
  3. Ron Paul 1,712 (18%)
  4. Newt Gingrich 1,034 (11%)

CNN Republican Delegate Estimate (1,144 needed to win)

  1. Mitt Romney 489
  2. Rick Santorum 234
  3. Newt Gingrich 139
  4. Ron Paul 66
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