Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum in dead heat in Ohio
Mitt Romney has caught up to Rick Santorum in Ohio, says the two latest polls. Is this a repeat of Michigan?
Mitt Romney closed in on Rick Santorum in Ohio and picked up a crucial endorsement in Virginia on Sunday as he grows in strength ahead of "Super Tuesday," the biggest day yet in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.Skip to next paragraph
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A Reuters/Ipsos poll found Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is tied with Santorum at 32 percent support from likely voters in the Ohio Republican primary, the most important of the 10 state nominating contests on Tuesday.
Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who is a social conservative with a strong blue-collar message, had been leading in polls in the economically hard-hit Midwestern state by double digits in recent weeks.
But Romney's five straight victories in Maine, Michigan, Arizona, Wyoming and Washington state have given him a burst of momentum despite some serious reservations about him from conservatives who have flirted with a variety of alternatives.
Senior Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom was cautious about Romney's prospects in Ohio, saying the campaign was more concerned about getting enough delegates to eventually seal the nomination.
"I don't think any state is a must-win. I think the only must-do on a candidate's checklist is getting 1,144 delegates," he told reporters on Romney's plane.
Adding to his momentum in the race to become the challenger to Democratic President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election, Romney picked up the endorsement of Eric Cantor, the conservative No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives.
Cantor is from the Super Tuesday state of Virginia, where only Romney and libertarian Representative Ron Paul are on the ballot because Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich failed to meet all the requirements for qualifying.