MILWAUKEE, April 3 (UPI) -- It was as easy as 1-2-3 for Mitt Romney Tuesday when he won the Wisconsin, Maryland and District of Columbia Republican presidential primaries.
CNN said the victories put Romney past the halfway point to the 1,144 delegates he needs to capture the GOP nomination and move into a one-on-one fight with Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama.
"Thank you to Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. We won them all," Romney said in Milwaukee, after he was projected as the winner in Wisconsin. "This has really been quite a night. We won a great victory tonight in our campaign to restore the promise of America."
In Wisconsin, where 82 percent of the precincts were counted, the former Massachusetts governor garnered 42 percent of the vote, while former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania had 38 percent, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had 12 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia had 6 percent.
In Maryland, with 71 percent of the precinct in, it was Romney with 48 percent to 30 percent for Santorum, 11 percent for Gingrich and 10 percent for Paul.
In the District of Columbia, with 67 percent of the precincts tallied, Romney led with 70 percent to 12 percent for Paul and 11 percent for Gingrich. Santorum was not on the ballot.
Santorum vowed to his cheering supporters in Mars, Pa., that he would press on, looking for a re-energizing win in his home state of Pennsylvania April 24 when Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Rhode Island also hold their nominating contests.
"We have now reached the point where it's halftime," Santorum said. "Half of the delegates in this process have been selected. Now who's ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?"
Santorum had trailed Romney by several percentage points in most polls heading into the election in the Badger State, and had not been expected to win in Maryland or the District. But he is forecast to win the Keystone State.
"A conservative ... is the best chance for us to win this election, someone who can take on [President] Barack Obama," Santorum said Tuesday night.
Heading into the day's voting, Romney didn't mention any of his GOP challengers, instead accusing Obama of not keeping promises made about reducing the national debt and boosting the economy.
"His economic strategy was a bust," Romney said in a town-hall meeting in a Milwaukee warehouse, adding that "in my ideal world, government spends less and government is smaller."
"We have a president whose vision is to spend more and more with a bigger and bigger government," Romney said.
He said Obama has not moved forward on immigration reform, despite having majorities in Congress for his first two years in office.
"Legal immigration is something we conservatives like," Romney said.
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