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Romney leads in GOP Super Tuesday contests

(Xinhua)

10:15, March 07, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was projected winner in three states in Super Tuesday contests of the Republican presidential nomination battle, leading other candidates as polls across 10 states of the country began to close on Tuesday evening, according to projections made by U.S. media.

Romney was projected winner in Virginia, Vermont, and Massachusetts, where he was once governor. His win in Virginia was especially important as former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum failed to qualify for the state's stringent rules on state wide ballot access requirements -- 10,000 signatures, with at least 400 from each of the 11 congressional districts, all to be collected by Virginia residents.

Virginia has 49 delegates, and a decisive win here could potentially provide Romney with a chance to sweep the delegates here, further enlarge the lead he enjoys over Santorum, who emerged in the past month as his main rival in the race.

Romney also was projected to win in Vermont, which has 17 delegates. He cruised to an easy win in Massachusetts, but is in dead heat with Santorum in Ohio, the most contested race in the day, according to exit polls.

As Romney's homestate advantage holds, Gingrich's did as well. He is projected to win the GOP nomination contest in his home state Georgia.

A win in Georgia is important for Gingrich's struggling campaign to stay afloat, as Georgia is his home state. It is also delegate rich, with 76 delegates.

The projection on Georgia by CNN was made from exit polls, and Romney came in second, ahead of Santorum and Ron Paul, the other two main candidates.

Polls are also held in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Idaho, Alaska and North Dakota. The ten states have 437 delegates, about one fifth of the party's delegates.

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