Election 2012: Santorum Wins in Louisiana
Another win in the south gives candidate 11 victories
Voters in Louisiana gave Rick Santorum another southern victory on Saturday.
The state held its primary this weekend, and Santorum scored a decisive win. He led all candidates with 49 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney with 26.7 percent, Newt Gingrich with 15.9 percent, and Ron Paul with 6.1 percent of the vote.
"Tonight with our strong victory in Louisiana, our campaign has now won 11 states, tying a record and proving we can win in the west, south and midwest," Santorum said in a letter he sent to supporters. "Not since Ronald Reagan in 1976 has a conservative candidate won as many states as we have."
More importantly for Santorum, he picked up 10 delegates by winning the primary. Romney won five delegates. The other candidates claimed zero.
Santorum and Romney are locked in a battle for delegates. Whichever candidate reaches 1,144 delegates first will be the Republican nominee. After Saturday, Romney leads all candidates with 568. Santorum is his closest competitor with 273 delegates.
Gingrich has 135 delegates. But he has only won two primaries — South Carolina and Georgia. Despite this, "I have no incentive to get of the race," Gingrich said on Friday.
Paul has only 50 delegates and has not won a single primary or caucus this election year. I spoke to Paul at a campaign event in Pineville, Louisiana, on Friday. I asked the candidate if there would be any circumstance or polling result that would cause him to consider dropping out of the race.
"Well, not likely until we see who's winning," he said. "You're citing the straw votes and they don't have an effect on the delegates. The delegate process is ongoing. Even though many of those elections have been announced, the delegates haven't been announced yet. We still have a ways to go, there's no doubt about it, but there are no plans for dropping out."
The next test for the candidates is April 3 when primaries will be held in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. There are 96 delegates at stake.
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