• 46°

A Romney sweep: He takes Wisconsin, Maryland, DC

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night, sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington D.C., with time left over to swap charges with President Barack Obama.
“Four more years?” Romney asked sarcastically of the president as supporters cheered in Milwaukee.
He said Obama was “a little out of touch” after spending four years surrounded by the trappings of power and had presided over near-record job losses as well as increases in poverty, home foreclosures, government debt and gasoline prices. In Washington, Obama said things could be worse — and he predicted they would be if Romney and the Republicans got their way.
The victories enabled Romney to pad his already-wide delegate lead over Republican rival Rick Santorum, who flashed defiance in the face of pressure to abandon his own candidacy in the name of party unity.
Wisconsin was the marquee contest of the night, the only place of the three on the ballot where Santorum mounted a significant effort. Romney’s victory there marked his fourth in little more than a month in a belt of industrial states that also included Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.
As of 12:45 a.m., returns from 99 percent of the state’s precincts showed Romney with 42 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Santorum, 12 percent for Ron Paul and 6 percent for Newt Gingrich.
Returns from 79 percent of Maryland’s precincts showed Romney with 49 percent of the vote to 29 percent for Santorum, 11 percent for Gingrich and 10 percent for Ron Paul.
With 99 percent precincts counted in Washington, Romney had 70 percent of the vote to 12 percent for Paul and 11 percent for Gingrich. Santorum was not on the ballot.
“We won ‘em all,” Romney declared, a former Massachusetts governor now the nominee-in-waiting for a party eager to reclaim the White House.
For Romney, the end of the contested primary campaign could hardly come soon enough. Obama has gained in the polls in recent months, particularly among women, as Republicans vie among themselves for support from a conservative party electorate. Santorum has devoted more time to social concerns — including birth control — than Romney, who has generally stayed focused on economic issues.
Additionally, surveys indicate Americans are growing more optimistic about the overall state of the economy. Unemployment has fallen in recent months, but it is still at a relatively high 8.3 percent of the work force.
Romney won at least 74 delegates in the three races, with 21 yet to be allocated.
That pushed his total to 646 of the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination. Santorum has 272 delegates, Gingrich 135 and Paul 51.
Interviews with voters leaving Republican polling places in Maryland and Wisconsin showed an electorate more concerned with a candidate’s ability to defeat Obama than with the strength of his conservatism, his moral character or his stand on the issues. Similar soundings in earlier states have consistently worked to Romney’s advantage.
Voters in both states were less apt to be born again or evangelical Christians than in most previous contests — 37 percent in Wisconsin and 33 percent in Maryland. Based on earlier contests, that, too, suggested an advantage for Romney.
Increasingly, Romney and many senior figures in his party have begun behaving as if the primaries are an afterthought, hoping to pivot to the fall campaign and criticism of Obama.
“He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened in this economy and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch and what’s happened to our schools and what’s happened to our military forces,” Romney said of the president while campaigning in Waukesha, Wis.
Obama, in a speech to the annual meeting of the Associated Press, said a House-passed budget written by Republicans was “antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it … It is a prescription for decline.”
When he wasn’t focusing his rhetoric on Obama, Romney prodded Santorum to quit the race, suggesting a refusal to do so could cost the party the election in November.
“The right thing for us, I think, is to get a nominee as soon as we can and be able to focus on Barack Obama,” Romney said in an interview with Fox News. “You have to remember that it was Ross Perot that allowed Bill Clinton to win” in 1992, he added, a reference to the Texan who ran as an independent that year.
Santorum, in his home state of Pennsylvania, took note of the calls for him to exit the race.
“Ladies and gentleman, Pennsylvania and half the other people in this country have yet to be heard, and we’re going to go out and campaign here and across this nation to make sure that their voices are heard in the next few months.”
Santorum made little or no effort in Maryland, was not on the ballot in Washington, D.C., and concentrated much of his time in Wisconsin in rural areas.
He all but conceded defeat in advance in Wisconsin, retreating to Mars, Pa., for an election night appearance in his home state.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Lane, ramp closures scheduled for I-85 in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury High, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash