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Romney and Santorum prepare to square off in Super Tuesday battles

Voters in 10 US states will today decide on who should be the Republican presidential nominee, with everything to play for.

The four Republican candidates - Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich - will be seeking the support of some 410 delegates in today's 'Super Tuesday' primaries.
The four Republican candidates - Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich - will be seeking the support of some 410 delegates in today's 'Super Tuesday' primaries.
Image: Ross D. Franklin/AP

VOTERS IN TEN states will today vote on who should be the Republican Party’s nominee to contest November’s presidential election, in the biggest day of the campaigns so far.

Ten states, with a total of 410 delegates up for grabs, will consider whether to back Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul to face up to the Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.

Romney is so far the frontrunner, and enjoys a strong lead in the number of delegates committed so far, but has failed to finish off the challenge of Santorum who could well make inroads in that number today.

The 410 delegates (pledged voters who will vote for the Republican nominee at their convention in August) to be won today outnumber the 383 who have already been won by the various candidates.

The largest of the states voting today is Georgia, the home state of Newt Gingrich, who is likely to score highly and take a large chunk of the state’s 76 delegates, and will take many of the 50 delegates from Alabama, but his prospects are less promising elsewhere.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is likely to take most of the 41 delegates there, as well as most of the 50 in Virginia where neither Gingrich or Santorum will actually appear on the ballot papers.

Santorum is likely to win in Oklahoma, which brings 43 delegates, and has topped recent opinion polls in Tennessee (58 delegates) – though the last poll there showed Romney as having dramatically closed the gap.

But it is Ohio, with 66 delegates, which is likely to have the biggest impact on the race: polls in the last week have shown Santorum and Romney to be effectively neck and neck in the state, with only a couple of percentage points between them.

Although the state offers its delegates on a proportional basis – with 10 to the overall winner, and another 48 distributed to winners in individual congressional districts – and will therefore not have a big numerical impact, it is Ohio’s stature which will have a greater sway: no candidate has ever won the Republican nomination without winning Ohio.

We’ll be liveblogging events as the Super Tuesday results roll in later this evening.

More: Romney extends lead with victory in Washington state

Read: Romney scores major wins in Michigan and Arizona primaries

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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