By Justin Sink
Mitt Romney handily won the Indiana primary Tuesday night, edging the presumptive Republican presidential candidate closer to officially clinching the GOP nomination.
Shortly after the polls closed, The Associated Press projected a Romney victory over Ron Paul, his lone remaining competition in the Republican race.
Coupled with wins in North Carolina — which awards 55 delegates — and West Virginia — which awards 31 delegates — Romney seems poised to wrap up the nomination before Texas votes at the end of the month.
With the actual nomination a mere formality at this point, Romney did little to secure his victory in the Hoosier State. The candidate spent the week campaigning in Ohio and Michigan, fully engaged in a general election battle with President Obama.
For a nomination that has already been, for all intents and purposes, decided, Indiana did draw some turnout thanks to a hotly contested primary contest that could end the career of six-term Sen. Dick Lugar (R).
A recent poll showed Lugar trailing Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who has the support of Tea Party groups, by double digits. But Lugar remained optimistic on the morning of election day that he would prevail.
"We've had a very vigorous campaign, and I believe in fact we're going to win the campaign," Lugar told CNN Tuesday morning.