Republican Romney sweeps 3 primaries

Republican Romney sweeps 3 primaries

Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination after sweeping three more primaries as his flagging Republican rivals vowed to fight on.

Romney’s victories on April 3 in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C., padded his already considerable delegate lead and all but handed him the title of presumptive Republican nominee.

“We won them all! This really has been quite a night,” Romney told supporters in Wisconsin, where he won by nearly five percentage points. Chief rival Rick Santorum vowed to fight on, defying growing pressure to abandon his own candidacy in the name of party unity.

Santorum, a Christian conservative and staunch opponent of abortion and gay marriage, has said he will carry on at least into May, when primaries are held in more conservative states seen as friendlier to his candidacy. “The clock starts tonight,” Santorum told supporters in his home state of Pennsylvania, which votes later in April. “We’ve got three weeks to go out here in Pennsylvania and win this state,” he said, as his campaign announced a series of yesterday’s events in the state. Romney won 49 percent to Santorum’s 29 percent in Maryland and dominated with 70 percent in Washington, DC, with former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas congressman Ron Paul trailing far behind in all three contests.

Romney won at least 83 delegates in April 3’s three races, with six delegates yet to be decided. That pushed his total to 655 of the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination at the Republican National Convention in late August in Tampa, Florida. Santorum has 278 delegates, Gingrich 135 and Paul 51.