Elections 2012: Rick Santorum Scores Easy Win at Kansas Caucuses

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum swept the Kansas caucuses on Saturday with 51 percent of the vote, giving him a boost going into crucial primary votes in the South next week.

Demonstrating again his strength among conservative voters in the heartland, Rick Santorum decisively won the Kansas caucuses on Saturday. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Mr. Santorum captured 51 percent of the vote, easily eclipsing his rivals Mitt Romney, who had 21 percent; Newt Gingrich with 14 percent; and Ron Paul with 13 percent, reports The New York Times.

In the contest, 40 delegates were at stake. The results come less than one week after ten states held primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday.

According to The Huff Post, Santorum spokesperson Hogan Gidley said in a statement, “We are very pleased to see the Santorum surge sweeping through the Jayhawk State,” adding, “This is a great win for the campaign and further evidence that conservatives and Tea Party loyalists are uniting behind Rick as the true, consistent conservative in this race.”

“We’ve had a very, very good day,” Mr. Santorum said in Missouri, retracing the ups and downs of a campaign in which he said many had questioned why he persisted.

“I kept saying, you just stick with us, you go out and vote for your values and trust what you know,” he told supporters. “Because you don’t live in New York City. You don’t live in Los Angeles. You live like most Americans in between those two cities, and you know the values you believe in.”

Santorum won 33 of the 40 Kansas delegates, and Romney the other seven, according to unofficial results from the Kansas Republican Party.

Romney described Tuesday’s Southern primaries as an “away game” for him and has been concentrating on a longer-term search for delegates, tells Reuters.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney countered in Wyoming where he won seven of the 12 delegates at stake, Santorum three, Paul one. Uncommitted also won one.

The contests in Kansas and Wyoming left Romney with 454 delegates in the AP’s count, more than all his rivals combined. Santorum had 217, while Gingrich had 107 and Paul had 47.

After primaries or caucuses in 26 states and territories, Mr. Romney holds a commanding lead in the delegate count. His strategists argue it is all but impossible for any other candidate to capture the 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination.

Mr. Gingrich, whose campaign indicated earlier that he would withdraw if he did not win Alabama and Mississippi, now vows to slog his way to the convention in August. “I just want to set this to rest once and for all,” Mr. Gingrich told The Associated Press on Friday. “We’re going to Tampa.”

Mr. Paul has also vowed to remain in the race up to the convention, though he has yet to win a state. He aggressively pursued voters in Kansas, and spoke to nearly 2,000 people at the University of Kansas on Friday evening. But though Mr. Paul’s supporters are passionate about him, he still finished in fourth place.

Kansas drew more attention from the White House hopefuls, but not much more, given its position midway between Super Tuesday and potentially pivotal primaries next Tuesday in Mississippi and Alabama.

Santorum, who hopes to drive Gingrich from the race in the coming week, lashed out at Obama and Romney simultaneously in remarks in the Kansas capital city.

“We already have one president who doesn’t tell the truth to the American people. We don’t need another,” he said.

The former Pennsylvania senator told reporters he was confident “that we can win Kansas on Saturday and come into Alabama and Mississippi, and this race should come down to two people.”

Romney had no campaign appearances Saturday. The former Massachusetts governor won six of 10 Super Tuesday states earlier in the week, and hopes for a Southern breakthrough in Alabama on Tuesday after earlier losing South Carolina and Georgia to Gingrich.

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