Mitt Romney won the Washington, D.C., presidential primary Tuesday night in a mostly uncontested race that will net the former Massachusetts governor 19 delegates.

NBC News projected Romney's win as the polls closed at 8 p.m.

Romney led with 71 percent of the District's GOP voters with 78 percent of precincts reporting. Chief rival Rick Santorum failed to qualify for the ballot in D.C., leaving little doubt about the outcome of the primary. Ron Paul trailed with 12 percent of the vote, while Newt Gingrich garnered 11 percent.


Still, the delegates Romney will earn from the nation's capital ­— delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis — will add additional distance between him and his Republican rivals.

The GOP front-runner spent little time in the District before the election, opting to focus his efforts on the more competitive Wisconsin primary. Washington has a relatively small proportion of registered Republicans, with Democrats holding a 68-point registration advantage in the entirely urban federal district.

Still, Santorum's campaign looked to paint Romney's win as a moral victory for its candidate.

"We expect Mitt Romney to do well in the D.C. area — no shock there — in fact it might even be unanimous. I don't know that we'll pick up a single vote in D.C. because of the vitriol D.C. has for someone like Rick Santorum who wants to shake things up here in Washington," Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told MSNBC Tuesday.