BOSTON – So much for Mitt Romney wrapping up the nomination by Super Tuesday.
Rather than whittling down the roster of GOP hopefuls, as some had predicted months ago, Super Tuesday’s 10-state contest gave each of the top three candidates important victories to crow about and failed to provide a clearer path to victory for establishment favorite Romney.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was ahead of Rick Santorum by about one-half of 1 percent of the vote in the critical swing state of Ohio, which many considered Super Tuesday’s most important contest. He had claimed victory in just three other states — Vermont, his home state of Massachusetts and Virginia, where Rep. Ron Paul was his sole opponent. Romney assured a crowd gathered at a downtown hotel that he would pick up more Super Tuesday wins.
“I’m not going to let you down,” he told supporters in Boston. “I’m going to get this nomination.”
But even if his narrow victory in Ohio holds up, the breakdown of Tuesday’s votes shows a deeply divided GOP electorate that, even after 20 debates and numerous primaries, has failed to coalesce around one candidate despite Romney’s great financial and organizational advantage over the rest of the pack.
“The majority of Republicans are still reluctant to accept Romney,” Ohio State University political science professor Paul Beck told The Washington Examiner.
Beck pointed out that in Virginia, where Romney faced off against only Paul, Paul earned 41 percent of the vote to Romney’s 59 percent.
Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, continued to block Romney’s path to nomination.