Romney inches closer to magic number of delegates

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER,Associated Press Updated at 2012-05-09 06:31:48 +0000


WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney added to his big lead in the race for convention delegates Tuesday by sweeping Republican presidential primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia, inching closer to the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.

Romney won at least 63 delegates Tuesday, with the 28 delegates from West Virginia still undecided. Romney has a commanding lead in the race for delegates with 919. He is 225 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 100 delegates. Paul won at least six delegates Tuesday, all in North Carolina

Romney won all 27 delegates at stake in Indiana and 36 of the 52 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina. Delegate results in West Virginia 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, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were on the ballot even though both have dropped out of the race. Santorum won six delegates and Gingrich won four.

In North Carolina, "no preference" got about 50,000 votes in the Republican presidential primary, but the state GOP said the category was not eligible for delegates.