BILOXI, Miss., March 12 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said he hopes to ride the wave of conservatism in this week's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi to victory.
Santorum's assessment depends on drawing evangelical and conservative voters in the two Deep South states to his cause rather than that of regional son Newt Gingrich, whose only two wins have been in South Carolina and Georgia, NBC News reported Monday.
"We're going to move to states where I have much more of an advantage," Santorum told NBC's "Today" from Biloxi, Miss., where he is campaigning. "The math is not the issue. The issue is vision. The issue is [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney, having outspent me 10-to-1, is still not able to close the deal."
A presidential candidate needs 1,144 delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August to win the party's nomination. An NBC News tally showed Romney has 377 delegates; Santorum, 146; Gingrich, 112, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, 31.
Despite some paperwork snafus that have cost him in several races already -- including a failure to get on the Virginia ballot -- Santorum expressed confidence about his prospects.
"The conservative in this race is going to rise," helping him secure the Republican presidential nomination, Santorum said. "They are not going to nominate a Massachusetts moderate."