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Mitt Romney wins Maryland GOP primary

April 03, 2012|By David Meeks

Reporting from Washington — Mitt Romney has won the Maryland primary, The Associated Press projected, winning handily in a state where the moderate former governor of Massachusetts never faced a serious challenge from staunch conservative Rick Santorum.

Romney’s focus on economic issues played well with Maryland’s Republicans, more of whom tend to be fiscal conservatives and social libertarians than in the South, the region where Santorum has been the strongest. Polls in Maryland consistently showed Romney with a double-digit lead and Santorum focused much of his effort on Wisconsin, which also held its primary on Tuesday.

Romney also had another advantage in Maryland: Its Republican primary was closed, meaning only registered party members could vote. That prevented Democratic voters from crashing the GOP primary to vote for Santorum as a way to make Romney appear weak.

Of Maryland’s 37 delegates to the GOP convention, 24 are awarded by congressional district, 10 go to the primary winner and three are the state’s party officials. Turnout was predicted to be low, based on low numbers of early voters, and with little suspense about who would win.

Tuesday’s primaries, with a total of 95 delegates up for grabs, were expected to boost Romney well past the halfway point in accumulating the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the nomination. The Associated Press reported Romney was at 572 delegates after Monday, when Republicans in Tennessee finalized results from their March 6 primary and awarded three more delegates to Romney.

Santorum has 272 delegates, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 135 and TexasRep. Ron Paul with 51, according to The AP totals.

If Romney secures the Republican nomination as expected, he’ll face an uphill battle to win the state in the general election. President Obama easily defeated John McCain in 2008, and the last Republican to carry Maryland in the general election was President Reagan in 1988.

david.meeks@latimes.com

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