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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field

Santorum Wins Mississippi Primary

March 13, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum won the Alabama and Mississippi primaries Tuesday night, a double triumph that bolsters his claim to be the party’s chief alternative to Mitt Romney and increases the pressure on Newt Gingrich to drop out of the race.

 Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, fell short despite late predictions of a possible upset — and potential knockout blow — in a part of the country far from his comfort zone. His loss guaranteed the fractious GOP primary process will continue for now.

 The results could be lethal for former House Speaker Gingrich, who represented suburban Atlanta in the House and had counted on a strong showing in the South.  Gingrich on Tuesday vowed to stay in the race until the August convention in Tampa no matter what the outcome of the primaries, but pressure on him to drop out by Republican leaders was mounting even before his latest loss.

 

 Some of the pressure was coming from Santorum, a favorite of evangelical and very conservative voters who, like Gingrich, wants a clear shot at Romney. “It would be great if he would get out of the race,” Santorum said of Gingrich before the polls closed. Both Gingrich and Santorum lag far behind Romney in advancing toward the 1,144 convention delegates needed to lock up the nomination.

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