The former Pennsylvania senator won decidedly in Louisiana Saturday, earning 49 percent of the vote to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 27 percent, CNN reported Sunday. Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished with 16 percent and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, won 6 percent of votes.
Romney was the front-runner in the Republican presidential campaign with 563 delegates going into the Louisiana primary compared to Santorum's 251. Santorum will pick up at least eight more delegates in his Saturday win.
Gingrich was expected to have a stronger showing in Louisiana as the only candidate with ties to the state -- he graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune said.
"Too many people just felt like Newt wasn't a contender, and so a lot of people who would have voted for Newt just didn't," said James Farwell, a New Orleans consultant and former top adviser to Gingrich when he served as speaker. "The media approached it as a two-man race and Gingrich simply didn't have the resources in Louisiana to rewrite the script. It's too bad: No candidate for president has ever had a stronger connection to New Orleans than Newt."
Despite Santorum picking up Gingrich's lagging supporters, Bruce Haynes, a GOP strategist, told The Times-Picayune he needs to win bigger next time to have a shot at the Republican nomination.
"Santorum can't just win, he has to win big. He's the one who needs to 'shake up' this race. Another ho-hum win in the South doesn't cut it. He's on a political bridge to nowhere and is running out of time to change destinations," he said.