Santorum wins Oklahoma primary

Rick Santorum won the Oklahoma primary on Tuesday night.

Multiple news organizations projected Santorum as the winner about an hour after polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum had almost 34 percent of the vote. In the race for second place, Mitt Romney had a little more than 28 percent, and Newt Gingrich was just shy of 28 percent. Ron Paul was in fourth with under 10 percent.

It will likely be an incomplete victory for the former Pennsylvania senator: had he taken 50 percent of the popular vote, he would have been awarded all of the state’s 43 delegates, which instead will be allocated proportionately.

ADVERTISEMENT
In late February, a Rasmussen poll showed Santorum with 43 percent support and a 21-point lead on Romney, but the two candidates have been moving in opposite directions.

Following Santorum’s surprising three-state sweep of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, Romney reeled off five straight victories, opened up a double-digit lead over Santorum nationally and even closed to within 10 points of him in Oklahoma, according to an American Research Group poll released on Sunday.

Romney also landed the endorsement of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in the state’s largest newspaper over the weekend. While it wasn’t enough to tip the contest in Romney’s favor, he’ll still walk away with a chunk of the state’s delegates.

Oklahoma is a socially conservative state with a large evangelical Christian population, which matches up with Santorum’s base of support.

Santorum has called Oklahoma “ground zero for the conservative movement” and campaigned in the Sooner State as late as Sunday.