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Romney easily wins Indiana presidential primary

May 8, 2012

Mitt Romney cruised to victory in Indiana's Republican presidential primary, padding his dominant lead in the delegate count for the GOP nomination.

Romney had no serious challenge in the state and easily outpolled Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Santorum and Gingrich remained on the ballot despite having ended their campaigns.

The former Massachusetts governor will try to return Indiana to the Republican column in November after Barack Obama in 2008 became the first Democrat to carry the state in 44 years.

Romney's only trip to the state this year came Monday night, when he attended a campaign fundraiser in Indianapolis.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels endorsed Romney three weeks ago after saying for months he wanted to stay neutral in case Indiana's primary ended up being contested.

Romney added to his big lead in the race for convention delegates Tuesday by also winning in North Carolina.

Romney won at least 55 delegates Tuesday, with 52 still undecided. Romney has a commanding lead in the race for delegates with 911. He is 233 delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to clinch the nomination — a gap he could close by the end of the month.

The only other Republican still in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, has 94 delegates.

Romney won all 27 delegates at stake in Indiana and at least 28 of the 52 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina. Voters also went to the polls in West Virginia, with 28 delegates at stake, but delegate results were not expected on election night.

West Virginia elects individual delegates directly on the ballot. Each delegate is listed on the ballot — three in each of the three congressional districts and 19 statewide — along with the presidential candidate they support. With 112 candidates running for the 19 statewide spots, results were expected to be late.

North Carolina awarded delegates in direct proportion to the statewide vote, so Paul should win a few delegates even though he was trailing Romney by 55 percentage points with about 42 percent of the precincts reporting.

Even Santorum and Gingrich stand to win a few North Carolina delegates because their names were still on the ballot.

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