(WASHINGTON) — Mitt Romney won six of the 10 states up for grabs on Super Tuesday and built a commanding lead among delegates who will officially select the party’s nominee at this summer’s convention in Tampa, Fla.
In total, Romney won 217 delegates on Tuesday — almost half the total 437 at stake, and more than his competitors combined.
But the former Massachusetts governor is not yet a sure thing for the nomination and he must win 47 percent of the remaining delegates before he can rightly be called the presumptive nominee. The math of the GOP nomination lays groundwork for a delegate fight that could extend well into the summer and even potentially leave Romney without the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
Romney scored victories in Virginia, Vermont, Ohio, Idaho, Alaska and Massachusetts on Tuesday. Rick Santorum emerged the victor in Oklahoma, North Dakota and Tennessee, while Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia and Ron Paul came up empty-handed, again.
Romney now leads all candidates with 401 delegates, according to the latest ABC News estimate. Rick Santorum follows with 177, and Newt Gingrich, 106, and Ron Paul, 45, trail behind.
There are a total of 2,286 delegates up for grabs during the primary and 729 have already been estimated — about 31 percent. That leaves 1,557 outstanding delegates. Romney will have to win 743 or 47 percent to reach 1,144.
The calendar could present Romney with some problems. The next contests focus on the South, where he is thought to be weak against Santorum. And the main delegate prizes are more than a month away. New York holds its primary in late April, Texas is likely to hold its primary in late May, and California Republicans do not vote until June.
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