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rick santorum in ohio on super tuesday Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at an election-night party in the gymnasium of Steubenville High School in Steubenville, Ohio, on Super Tuesday. (Photo: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Election 2012: Santorum Wins Tennessee

Super Tuesday victory prolongs race for Republican nomination

By Ben Frigon | March 7 , 2012

The Tennessee primary was one of the elections to watch on Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney's campaign expected a close race, but it was Rick Santorum who won the state.

Santorum won Tennessee with 37 percent of the vote. Romney came in second with 28 percent. Gingrich was third with 24 percent, and Ron Paul finished fourth with 9 percent.

Santorum campaigned in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis just before the primary. Most of his stops were at churches.

Romney, meanwhile, had the endorsement of Governor Bill Haslam and US Senator Lamar Alexander. But at the polls, the time Santorum spent meeting voters and holding events paid off.

"We've run races all over the country, against the odds," Santorum told his supporters at a Super Tuesday party in Steubenville, Ohio. "When people think we're finished, we keep coming back. We're in this thing."

Santorum also won the Oklahoma primary and North Dakota caucus. And as of Wednesday morning, he was locked in a tight battle for Ohio. Only 12,000 votes separate Santorum and Romney, which makes the race too close to call.

Back in Tennessee, Romney hoped a victory in the state would show voters he could do well in the south. Instead, he lost another southern contest. His only victory in the region was the Florida primary in January.

Newt Gingrich had also campaigned hard for a victory in Tennessee. He held numerous events and rallies across the state prior to Super Tuesday. In an interview with the Kids Press Corps on Monday, Gingrich said a victory in Tennessee "would be a big step forward" for his campaign.

He ultimately finished third in Tennessee, and his only Super Tuesday victory came in Georgia.

The results of the Tennessee primary show the race for the Republican nomination is far from over. Romney might have won the most states on Super Tuesday, but Santorum showed voters he can compete in crucial states and regions.

The candidates now head to Kansas for a caucus on Saturday and Alabama, Hawaii, and Mississippi for primaries next Tuesday. They are also settling in to what might be a long primary season.

The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps is on the campaign trail. Kid Reporters are covering Super Tuesday from five states. Check out the Super Tuesday Special Report for their stories.

ELECTION 2012

Scholastic News Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail! Keep up with latest election news on the Election 2012 website.

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