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The protracted race for the GOP presidential nomination grew a bit tighter today as Rick Santorum won the Kansas caucuses by an overwhelming margin.

With 97 percents of the precincts reporting in the Sunflower State, Santorum earned 51 percent of the vote, with Mitt Romney second with 21 percent.

Newt Gingrich with 14 percent and Ron Paul with 12 percent to finish in third and fourth, respectively. Alabama and Mississippi hold primaries Tuesday.

Santorum stands to gain a substantial number of Kansas' 40 delegates, which he called crucial to competitive in the race for his party's nomination.

R Santorum Pic

"We have to do well here in Kansas," Santorum said this week in Lenexa, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City. "We have to win here in Kansas, and win big."

Romney and Gingrich largely skipped Kansas in favor of the states voting next week. Santorum and Paul had been the most active campaigners in Kansas.

Romney began the weekend with 339 delegates, with 107 for Gingrich, 95 for Santorum, and 22 for Paul, according to the Republican National Committee.

The RNC totals do not reflect any wins in states where delegates are not bound to the winning candidates, and also differ from various media estimates.

Romney remains the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nod and face off with President Obama in the fall, but his opponents clearly aren't going quietly.

With 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, it will take many more weeks for Mitt to reach that total, if he's able to do so at all.

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Former Alaska governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin threw her weight behind Newt Gingrich as Republican presidential nominee Tuesday.

At the same time, she coyly left open the door for her own White House run.

The GOP firebrand said she voted for Newt in the caucus/primary in Alaska, one of 10 states to cast ballots yesterday (see THG's full Super Tuesday results).

"I will tell you who I voted for... the cheerful one, it's Newt Gingrich," Palin said, referring to the one-word description Newt gave himself in a recent date.

"I have appreciated what he has stood for, stood boldly for," she said. "He has been the underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses."

"I've respected what he has stood for."

She spoke as as longtime frontrunner Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but failed to deliver a knockout blow.

Romney won six states, including Alaska, with a whole 33 percent of the vote, while Rick Santorum won three and Gingrich cruised in his native Georgia.

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by Free Britney at

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to pull off a narrow win in Ohio on Super Tuesday but lost several other states to challenger Rick Santorum.

The day of 10 primaries and caucuses produced no knockout punch, rather another split verdict that overshadowed Romney’s claim of collecting the most delegates.

Romney remains ahead in the delegate count, and thus the race for the nomination, but any hopes of asserting himself as the inevitable nominee fell short again.

Romney Ohio Pic

Far from bringing more clarity to the GOP presidential race as some in the party had hoped, Tuesday’s elections gave every candidate cause to keep driving forward.

Newt Gingrich won a definitive victory in Georgia. Santorum won in Tennessee, North Dakota and Oklahoma. Ron Paul even posted several second-place finishes.

Romney won Massachusetts, where he served as governor; Virginia, where neither Gingrich nor Santorum qualified for the ballot; and Vermont, Idaho and Alaska.

In Ohio, The Associated Press named Romney the winner early this morning, though some news outlets have not called it yet, and Santorum has not conceded.

Regardless of that outcome, Ohio's tight race and his defeats elsewhere show continuing vulnerabilities for Romney on both geographic and ideological grounds.

Even with most people operating under the assumption that he remains the most likely GOP nominee, he has nonetheless lost states across several regions.

Just the same, he's winning. With 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, Romney has 332 delegates to Santorum’s 139, Gingrich's 73 and Paul's 35.

Super Tuesday results by state after the jump ...

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by Free Britney at

Mitt Romney won Washington state's Republican caucuses this weekend, gaining a boost heading into Super Tuesday tomorrow, March 6, when 11 states hold contests.

The choice isn't binding. Romney won 37.6 percent of vote. He's put together a bit of a win streak, also carrying Wyoming, Arizona and Michigan within the last week.

Ron Paul edged Rick Santorum for second place with both receiving about 25 percent of the vote, with Newt Gingrich coming in fourth with 11 percent of the vote.

Mitt Romney Picture

Republican contests on March 6 include Ohio, a swing state that President Obama, a Democrat, won in 2008 and Republican President George W. Bush won in 2004.

Polls there are very close, while Santorum has the edge in Oklahoma and Tennessee, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads surveys in Georgia.

Romney is expected to win Massachusetts, Vermont and likely Virginia. Paul will continue to be a factor everywhere, particularly in states with caucus formats.

The 2012 Washington Republican Caucus results:

  1. Mitt Romney 19,111 (37.6%)
  2. Ron Paul 12,594 (24.8%)
  3. Rick Santorum 12,089 (23.8%)
  4. Newt Gingrich 5,221 (10.3%)
  5. Other 1,749 (3.4%)
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by Free Britney at

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has won Wyoming's presidential caucus vote, a series of county straw polls that took place over the last three weeks.

At 39 percent, Romney bested Rick Santorum (32 percent), Ron Paul (21 percent) and Newt Gingrich (8 percent). The Wyoming GOP released the results Wednesday.

Like Iowa's caucus, Wyoming's is not binding and will in no way affect the state's 29 delegates to the national convention, where the nominee will be formally chosen.

GOP Contenders

More attention will likely be paid to Wyoming's county conventions, held March 6-10, which will directly elect 12 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

Its April state convention, which will elect another 14 delegates ... none of which will be allocated (or "bound") to any of the four remaining presidential candidate.

Each will have to announce support for a candidate or "undecided." Confused yet?

Only 2,108 total votes were cast in Wyoming, the least populous U.S. state (fun fact). Nevada, the next smallest caucus to date, saw more than 30,000 GOP votes.

Also like in Iowa, the precinct caucuses served another function, besides recording a presidential-preference vote: electing delegates to Wyoming's later conventions.

If Romney's win in Wyoming is any indication, he'll receive more backing than his rivals from Wyoming's unbound national delegates at the GOP convention.

Romney won Michigan and Arizona Tuesday. Ten states cast ballots next week, on Super Tuesday, in an increasingly important date for his three competitors.

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by Free Britney at

Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary narrowly over Rick Santorum Tuesday, reclaiming some momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

He also won Arizona, by a much bigger margin.

Romney needed to win both, but especially Michigan (where he grew up when his father was governor) to assert his ability to regain his tarnished frontrunner status.

A Santorum win in Michigan would have raised questions about how strong a candidate Romney is within the GOP, and even a narrow defeat may have done so.

Nevertheless, Romney was 2-for-2 last night. Whether that gives him a critical boost heading into 10 "Super Tuesday" primaries March 6 remains an open question.

Empirically, Michigan's 30 delegates to the Republican convention, where the nominee is actually chosen this summer, will be allocated on a proportional basis.

That's in contrast to Romney's victory in Arizona, which was both expected and more thorough, netting him all 29 delegates in that state's winner-take-all primary.

Santorum portrayed his Michigan defeat as better than expected, even after leading in the polls earlier this month, given Romney's financial and territorial edge.

"This was going to be Romney's night. The question was how big. And it wasn't very big," Santorum said, adding that it's a "two-person race right now" with Mitt.

Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, despite finishing a distant third and fourth Tuesday, have both indicated they are still in this for the long haul to amass delegates.

The Arizona and Michigan primary results, according to Real Clear Politics:

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by Free Britney at

If you're running for national office, lovable Seinfeld loser George Costanza may not be a figure you should readily and enthusiastically equate yourself to.

But Mitt Romney did, and now Jason Alexander is commenting on it.

In his opening remarks at the Arizona Republican debate Wednesday, Mitt said, "I want to restore America's promise, and I'm going to do that."

Before he could continue, the crowd began applauding, so the candidate quipped, "As George Costanza would say, 'when they're applauding, stop.'"

Romney and Alexander

Jason Alexander, who played Costanza on the long-running series, used it as an opening to poke some fun at Romney and his penchant for changing positions.

He tweets, "Thrilled that Gov. Romney enjoys my old character. I enjoyed the character he used 2 b 2. If he'd embrace that again, he'd b a great candidate."

Ohhhh, snap.

Just FYI, the actual quote was spoken from Jerry Seinfeld, speaking to George about how to end a conversation, though Constanza famously followed the advice.

Seinfeld says, "When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off." Still, for the purposes of Romney's use, he was close enough this time.

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Arizona hosted the 20th GOP debate of this election cycle last night, and what followed was a wide-ranging discussion of issues ... and a familiar personal slap-fest.

It's all the same, only the names change. Wednesday, it was Rick Santorum in the coveted, yet also unfortunate role of the guy Mitt Romney trains his sights on.

Romney and Santorum clashed over the federal government's power in a high-stakes debate that might have been the last in the roller-coaster campaign.

Ron Paul was Ron Paul, defiantly making the case for liberty and getting far too little screen time. Newt Gingrich? He may have effectively called it quits.

The combative, knock-'em-out Newt was AWOL. Instead, the jovial Uncle Newt was back, playing everyone's wingman (and promising $2.50/gallon gas).

It was like mid-to-late 2011 again as Gingrich the enthusiastic, vigorously nodding candidate who would never speak ill of a fellow Republican resurfaced.

Even with his now-infamous media foil, CNN's John King, as the moderator, too. Go figure. A shift in strategy as he looks for a third comeback? Maybe.

He'd surely take it if it happened. But equally likely is that his moment passed, he knows it, and is looking to mend fences with his rivals and America.

The debate was held in the southwestern state of Arizona six days before primaries there and in Romney's native Michigan, which he loves everything about.

Romney still faces skepticism among Republicans who dislike his shifting stances on issues, but it was Santorum being called a "fake" conservative by Paul.

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by Free Britney at

Cyborg Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning in Michigan ahead of Tuesday's primary, and boy, does he just love everything about that state!

Mitt's pandering speech last week was remarkable in how forced it sounded, even by his standards, as the Michigan native tried to convince residents he is one of them.

It was a performance reminiscent of Steve Carell in Anchorman, when Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy asks, "Are you just naming things you see and saying you love them?"

Watch a mashup of that scene and Romney's press conference below:

The trees are the right height. Take note, Michigan Department of Tourism. There's your new tagline if ever we've heard one. "Pure Michigan" was so 2011.

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by Free Britney at

Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Maine's Republican caucuses, state party officials announced Saturday, beating Ron Paul by approximately three percent.

The victory, however slim, offers the candidate a boost after three straight losses to Rick Santorum last week. How far it will carry him remains to be seen.

The former Massachusetts governor earned 39 percent of the vote, while Paul took 36 percent, his strongest showing by share of the vote so far in the campaign.

Paul also finished second to Romney in neighboring New Hampshire.

Romney and Paul

Santorum got 18 percent of the vote in Maine and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has faded since winning South Carolina, had 6 percent.

While the Maine results don’t immediately offer any convention delegates to Romney, they give him renewed momentum - at least according to Romney, who said:

“The voters of Maine sent a clear message that it is past time to send an outsider to the White House, a conservative with a lifetime of experience in the private sector, who can uproot a culture of taxing, spending, borrowing and endless bureaucracy.”

The Maine results are based on votes cast at 84 percent of municipal caucuses that have been conducted to date; the rest will be held by March 20.

The state’s delegates to the Republican convention will be allocated in May. Because the results aren't officially complete, Paul did not concede defeat.

“It’s almost like we could call it a tie,” he told supporters.

Again, Maine's party officials have declared Romney the winner. However, with 16 percent of the caucuses - many in counties where Paul is poised to do well - postponed due to inclement weather, it's still possible for Paul to overtake him.

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