Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the Wisconsin, Maryland, and District of Columbia primaries April 3, easily besting second-place Rick Santorum in Wisconsin and Maryland. Former Pennsylvania Senator Santorum didn't win ballot access in the District of Columbia, where Romney won 70 percent of the vote over second place Ron Paul (12 percent) in that primary.
“This campaign will deal with many complicated issues but there is a basic choice before us,” Romney said
in a victory speech that all but ignored his GOP rivals.
“The President has pledged to 'transform America,' and he has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new Government-Centered Society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of our Opportunity Society, led by free people and free enterprises.”
But Santorum pledged to press on with his insurgent campaign, warning that a GOP nomination for Romney would lead to defeat in November. “Ladies and gentlemen, if we’re going to win this race, we can’t have little differences between our nominee and President Obama,” Santorum said
in criticism of Romney. “We don’t win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.”
Except for the District of Columbia, Romney has continued to lose a majority
of GOP primary voters. Exit polls
showed that Romney continues to struggle with winning self-described conservative and evangelical voters, but polls well with moderate and wealthy voters. Lack of support from conservatives and evangelicals has kept Romney from winning a majority of GOP primary voters in most of the states that have already voted, and has raised questions about whether he could solidify the GOP base for the November final election.
The former Massachusetts Governor is winning a majority of delegates, however, because the primary process awards delegate count. CNN actually predicted
Romney will win all of the delegates at stake during the April 3 primaries
, while the Associated Press predicted
Santorum will emerge from Wisconsin with six to 12 delegates. Either way, the wins put Romney on pace to have the majority of delegates by the time of the Tampa Republican Convention in June.
The focus of the primary campaign next turns to the April 24 primaries
, which include Pennsylvania and four other states, including New York. “We now turn to our home state of Pennsylvania,” the Santorum campaign stressed
, “where the latest poll shows us up by six. A win there will give us the momentum we need going into Texas, where the nomination may be decided.” Santorum is leading
in Pennsylvania in major polls, but is trailing badly
in polls in other April 24 primary states. Santorum noted in his evening speech
April 3 that his plan was to win Pennsylvania and then the big Texas primary in May, where he is currently running competitively with Romney in polls.
Photo of Mitt Romney: AP Images