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Presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney continued his march towards capturing the necessary delegate totals Tuesday with solid victories in the Nebraska and Oregon primaries.
In Nebraska, Romney took home 70.9 percent of the vote, followed by withdrawn candidate Rick Santorum at 14 percent, remaining contender Ron Paul at 9.9 percent and Newt Gingrich at 5.2. Nebraska’s Republican Party will award 34 of the state’s 35 delegates will be awarded at a state convention in July. One delegate, a designated party “super delegate” is already pledged to Romney.
Oregon gave Romney 72.7 percent, Paul 12.5 percent, Santorum 9.2 percent and Gingrich 5.6. Romney will capture most — if not all — of Oregon’s 28 delegates under party rules.
The race results show Paul, who suspended “active campaigning” over the weekend continues to be non-factor in the all-but-decided GOP race, political strategist Andrea Marshall told Capitol Hill Blue.
“In some states, Paul still finishes behind Santorum long after the former Pennsylvania Senator left the race,” Marshall said. “That is a clear sign that Paul’s campaign is over.”
Paul’s zealous followers hope to overturn the Nebraska election results by capturing delegates when the state convention meets in July.
“Paul’s delegate strategy is a confusing contrast with his public persona as a ‘man of the people,’ ” says political scientist Andrew North. “Instead of accepting the will of voters, he wants to use political maneuvers to reverse the election results at state conventions.”
Political professionals say Paul has no chance of capturing enough delegates to deny Romney the nomination. The Texas Congressman and three-time Presidential candidate appeared to recognize that when he told supporters he was suspending “active campaigning” because, after spending more than $34 million, he doesn’t have the “tens of millions of dollars” to continue.
Romney, in the meantime, is focusing on incumbent President Barack Obama and not looking back at a contentious primary that has left him bruised but, as he looks ahead, his greatest political rival may be his own mouth.
Political observers joke that Romney suffers from “diarrhea of the mouth,” with head-shaking claims of “saving the auto industry” as well as observations that he likes to fire people.
“Mitt Romney taking credit for the auto rescue is like Benedict Arnold taking credit for the American victory over the British — give me a break, give me a break,” says Lansing, MI mayor Ving Bernero. “GM and Chrysler are going strong in spite of Romney’s best efforts.”
And while Romney racks up endorsements from Republicans, the public statements are, if anything, less than enthusiastic.
“Their endorsements remind me almost of hostages,” Democratic strategist Chris Lehane told the Los Angeles Times. “I half expect them to be doing Morse code with their blinks.”
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