Santorum storms Oklahoma, takes Tennessee on Super Tuesday

Rick Santorum translated support from small states with conservative roots into a trio of early GOP primary victories, The Associated Press said.

But he couldn't keep his momentum going, losing a narrow victory in all-important Ohio to Mitt Romney.

Observers readily awarded Santorum a win in Oklahoma by the time just one-quarter of counties had reported. That was sandwiched between a victory in Tennessee and a surprisingly lopsided win in North Dakota.

“We’re going to win a few. We’re going to lose a few. But as it looks right now, we’re going to get a couple of gold medals and a whole passel of silver,” Santorum said, AP reported.

Santorum won Oklahoma despite a late Sen. Tom Coburn (R–Okla.) endorsement of Romney, Bloomberg reported.

There are 40 delegates at stake in Oklahoma, and they were divided on a proportional basis.

With 99 percent of polls reporting, CNN said Santorum garnered almost 94,000 votes for 13 delegates. Newt Gingrich and Romney were in a virtual tie with 12 delegates each while Ron Paul was a distant fourth and earned zero delegates.

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The race was closer in Tennessee, with Santorum edging Romney by about 48,000 votes as 91 percent of counties reported, CNN said. Santorum more than doubled Romney's delegate count there, 25 to 12. 

In North Dakota, Santorum won 40 percent of the vote compared to 27 for Paul, 25 for Romney and 8 percent for Gingrich.

Twenty-eight delegates are at stake in North Dakota, which are tied to caucuses.

The Hill expected better results for Paul in the oil-rich, economically vibrant state. North Dakota is a traditional supporter of independents.

The Texas congressman even elected to spend Super Tuesday in Fargo.

The real test came in Ohio, however. All eyes remained fixed on the vote-rich state, where the former Pennsylvania senator battled Romney for ultimate victory on Super Tuesday.

CNN waited until 12:33 a.m. ET before finally awarding Romney a win. 

The ex-Massachusetts governor edged Santorum by 12,000 votes among more than 1 million cast, CNN said.

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