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Romney’s delegate lead grows

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Despite his losses in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, Mitt Romney appears to have expanded his delegate lead on Tuesday.

The most recent projections from AP show Rick Santorum took 31 delegates from Alabama and Mississippi, while Newt Gingrich took 24 delegates and Romney got 23.

But this morning, Romney was projected to win all nine delegates from American Samoa’s caucuses, and he also won the Hawaii caucuses by a large margin.

AP projections show Romney beat Santorum 18 delegates to four in those jurisdictions.

So, as of this morning, Romney has won 41 delegates from Tuesday’s contests, compared to 35 for Santorum, thereby expanding Romney’s delegate lead. (Gingrich is projected to have won 24 delegates.)

Romney did, however, fall short of winning a majority of delegates available on Tuesday. And right now, given that he’s playing to win the nomination outright, a majority is what he needs going forward.

Santorum’s campaign has suggested its goal is to prevent Romney from accumulating enough delegates to win, then to take the race to the convention.

Romney is still winning a majority of delegates overall, though, as the chart above shows.

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