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romney in florida Mitt Romney waves to the crowd at the River City Brewing Co. on Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo: AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Self)

Election 2012: Two Steps Closer to the Nomination

Romney Wins Arkansas and Kentucky primaries

By Andrew Liang | May 23 , 2012

Mitt Romney needs 1,144 delegates in order to officially be the Republican presidential nominee. After winning two more primaries on Tuesday, he is less than 100 delegates away from his goal.

Arkansas and Kentucky held their primaries yesterday, and Romney easily won both contests. He won the Arkansas primary with 68.3 percent of the vote, and he won Kentucky with 66.7 percent. (Full results at the end of this story.)

These victories add 75 delegates to Romney's total, according to the Associated Press. This gives him a total of 1,065 delegates. He now only needs 79 delegates to officially become the nominee.

Romney could reach that goal next week. Texas holds its primary on May 29, and the state has 155 delegates up for grabs.

But even though Romney is not the official nominee yet, he has been campaigning for the general election for weeks. After Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich dropped out of the race, Romney had little competition left in the Republican primary. This allowed him to focus his attention on his Democratic rival, President Barack Obama.

"These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us," Romney said at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 15. "We can't spend another four years talking about solving a problem that we know we are making worse every single day. We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we've all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren."

Since establishing himself as the presumptive (likely) nominee, Romney has been gaining ground on President Obama in some national polls.

In April, 49 percent of voters said they would for President Obama, while 43 percent said they would vote for Romney, according to MSNBC.

But an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in early May found Romney closing the gap. In that poll, 47 percent said they would vote for Obama and 43 percent said they would vote for Romney.

With Romney set to officially become the Republican nominee, the race to the White House is sure to get tighter.

May 22 Primary Results

Arkansas
Mitt Romney: 68.3 percent
Ron Paul: 13.4 percent
Rick Santorum: 13.3 percent
Newt Gingrich: 4.9 percent

Kentucky
Mitt Romney: 66.7 percent
Ron Paul: 12.5 percent
Rick Santorum: 8.9 percent
Newt Gingrich: 5.9 percent
Other: 5.9 percent

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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