Romney wins Virginia primary

Mitt Romney will win the Virginia primary, beating Ron Paul, the only other candidate on the ballot.

Virginia’s polls closed at 7 p.m. and the television news networks called the race for Romney a short time later. 

Romney ended up with nearly 60 percent of the vote, and Paul took 40 percent.

Romney’s lead in the state had steadily grown in the latest polls, and he was up by 43 points in the most recent NBC News/Marist poll of voters taken at the beginning of the month.

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Romney and Paul were the only GOP candidates appearing on the Virginia ballot due to the other candidates' failure to meet stringent state requirements. The failure to get on the ballot was bad for Rick Santorum but infinitely worse for Newt Gingrich, who lives in Virginia. Consequently, Gingrich’s campaign admitted that its candidate did not vote on Primary Day at all.

Virginia holds an open ballot, so Paul’s supporters made a last-ditch effort to urge Democrats in the state to vote for their candidate. Their strategy was to chip off a few delegates in the proportional primary for Paul. But Virginia’s popular GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Romney supporter, predicted Romney would earn more than 50 percent of the vote in his state, which would grant him all 49 delegates available.