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Super Tuesday results roll in for six states

Mitt Romney won in three of the first primary results to come in on Super Tuesday.  Rick Santorum won two of the first states to tally their results, and Newt Gingrich took Georgia.

By DAVID ESPOAssociated Press / March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday results: US Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich addresses supporters after polls closed in Georgia in the "Super Tuesday" Republican presidential primary in Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday.

John Amis/Reuters

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Mitt Romney rolled to primary victories in Virginia, Vermont and home-state Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, reaching for a decisive advantage in the most turbulent race for the Republican presidential nomination in a generation.

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But his rivals countered crisply. Rick Santorum won in Tennessee and Oklahoma, while Newt Gingrich scored a home-field win in Georgia — fresh evidence that they retain the ability to outpace the former Massachusetts governor in parts of the country despite his huge organizational and financial advantages.

Romney and Santorum also dueled in Ohio, their second industrial-state showdown in as many weeks and the marquee matchup of the busiest night of the race.

In Ohio, with 15 percent of the precincts counted, Santorum had 38 percent, Romney 36 percent, Gingrich 15 percent and Paul 8 percent.

Win or lose there, Romney said "I think we'll pick up a lot of delegates, and this is a process of gathering enough delegates to become the nominee and I think we're on track to have that happen."

There were primaries in Virginia, Vermont, Ohio, Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Caucuses in North Dakota, Idaho and Alaska rounded out the calendar.

In all, 419 delegates were at stake in the 10 states, and Romney's early wins allowed him to pad his earlier lead for the nomination.

He picked up at least 64 during the evening, Gingrich 23.

That gave the former Massachusetts governor 264 in The Associated Press count, while Santorum had 92, Gingrich 56 and Paul 25. It takes 1,144 to win the nomination at the Republican National Convention this August in Tampa, Fla.

In interviews as voters left their polling places, Republicans in state after state said the economy was the top issue and an ability to defeat Obama was what mattered most as they made their Super Tuesday choices.

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