Washington – Mitt Romney won all five Republican presidential primaries Tuesday, effectively ending the GOP nomination battle.
The Associated Press called New York for the former Massachusetts governor not long after the polls closed at 9 p.m. EDT. Earlier, Romney was declared the winner in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Tuesday marked the biggest day of voting in the Republican primaries since Super Tuesday on March 6, but there was no suspense. With former Sen. Rick Santorum out of the race, Romney faced only Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom are well behind Romney in polls.
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A total of 231 delegates was up for grabs, though not all will be awarded based on the vote because state party officials also serve as delegates who cast their votes at the party’s national convention.
Analysts said Romney still stood a strong chance of collecting 200 delegates or more as he closes in on the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the nomination. The latest Associated Press tally showed Romney came into Tuesday with 698 delegates, well ahead of Santorum’s 260. Gingrich had 137 and Paul 75.
Romney devoted much of his campaign time to Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state in the general election. Obama carried Pennsylvania in 2008 over Sen. John McCain, but polls show a tight race there between the president and Romney.
The former Massachusetts governor spoke to supporters in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, another key general election battleground and the first primary he won this year.
Gingrich focused his efforts on Delaware, where Republican voters have tended to be more conservative than in other states. But he trailed there by more than 30 percentage points with nearly all of the votes counted.
The former House speaker from Georgia had said his showing in Delaware would be crucial and that a defeat might cause him to reassess his campaign.
New York was the day’s biggest prize with 95 delegates, followed by Pennsylvania (72 delegates), Connecticut (28), Rhode Island (19) and Delaware (17).
© 2012 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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