Mitt Romney has been declared the winner of the GOP presidential primaries in Indiana, West Virginia, and North Carolina, as anticipated.
The only real question was whether a substantial vote for Ron Paul, or big protest votes for the departed presidential candidates, would materialize. That does not appear to be the case. As the races were called, Romney held about 65 percent of the vote in Indiana and North Carolina, plus over 70 percent of the vote in West Virginia. Votes were less than half tallied in North Carolina and West Virginia at the time of this writing, so those positions could change a bit.
Interestingly, departed candidate Rick Santorum was running slightly ahead of Ron Paul in West Virginia, about even in North Carolina, and less than two points behind in Indiana. Newt Gingrich claimed between 6 and 8 percent of the vote in all three states. Protest votes against Romney don’t seem to have coalesced around Paul.
For those playing the Buddy Roemer electoral drinking game, he got on the board in West Virginia with about 1 percent of the vote. Do a shot for Buddy!
There are 107 GOP delegates at stake in these three races. Indiana awards 3 delegates from each of its 9 congressional districts. Romney has already secured 18 of these delegates, and has a good shot at the remainder. North Carolina awards 52 delegates proportionally based on the statewide vote, so Romney is on track to get 35 to 40 of them. West Virginia voters elect their 31 delegates directly, with the presidential candidate supported by each delegate listed on the ballot. This should produce results broadly similar to proportional delegate allegation, so Romney should be able to count on 20 to 23 delegates there.
All told, Tuesday night should push Romney well over 900 total delegates, and perhaps closer to 950. He needs 1144 delegates to secure the nomination. 638 delegates remain to be chosen in primaries that conclude with Utah on June 26. It should not be difficult for Romney to pick up the 200 to 250 that he needs to formally complete his run for the nomination.
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