Rick Santorum tipped to win Louisiana primary
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was on track to win the Republican primary in Louisiana on Saturday. However, Santorum is still trailing rival Mitt Romney in the race to gain the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination.
AP - Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum looks likely to win the Louisiana primary, racking up another victory in the Republican race to challenge President Barack Obama.
But regardless of Saturday’s outcome, front-runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will still have collected more delegates than all his opponents, creating a juggernaut that looks increasingly unstoppable.
Increasingly, powerful members of the Republican establishment have been coming forward to back Romney in bid for the White House and trying to put an end to longer-than-expected primary race, that has left the candidates and even the entire Republican party badly bruised.
After rolling to a decisive victory in the heartland state of Illinois on Tuesday, Romney quickly won the surprise endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush. There were also signs that major Republican campaign contributors are shifting more money in his direction.
Still, Santorum tried to keep the pressure on Romney Friday ahead of the Louisiana contest, arguing that he is the only Republican candidate who can offer voters a stark contrast with Obama.
“If you don’t have a choice, then a lot of voters are going to vote for what they have. That’s why we have to have a choice,” Santorum said after testing his marksmanship with a .45 caliber semiautomatic Colt pistol.
Santorum, however, was forced to explain another apparent misstep, saying he would support the eventual Republican nominee - if it isn’t him - despite what he insists are similarities between Romney and Obama that make them indistinguishable on some issues.
He caused an intraparty uproar earlier in the week after suggesting he’d prefer a second term for Obama over a Romney presidency.
The situation underscored Santorum’s challenges and continued missteps that are complicating a candidacy already struggling to overcome major financial and organizational deficiencies. Before losing this week’s Illinois primary, Santorum hurt himself by declaring that neither the economy nor the nation’s unemployment rate was his top concern.
Romney heads into Louisiana with a commanding delegate lead in the race to 1,144, the number needed to clinch the Republican nomination at the Republican convention on Aug. 27.
Romney has earned 563 delegates so far, compared to 263 for Santorum, 135 for Gingrich and 50 for Ron Paul, according to an Associated Press tally.