Mitt Romney won the Washington caucus on Saturday, edging out Rep. Ron Paul to win his third straight contest this week.
Romney beat Paul with 38% of the vote to 24%, with Rick Santorum coming in a close third with 24% and Newt Gingrich trailing far behind with 11%.
The win gives Romney some needed momentum ahead of next week’s Super Tuesday, when 10 states go up to vote.
A win for Paul would have been a boon for the libertarian, providing significant momentum to the candidate who is currently last in the GOP pack, and proving that his grassroots-oriented campaign strategy is working.
Paul now will look to Alaska and Virginia to seek his first win in the campaign.
The state GOP estimated that upwards of 60,000 people took part in the caucuses, up from the 12,616 who participated in the 2008 Republican caucuses.
Santorum was leading by 11 points in the most recent public poll (38% to Mitt Romney's 27%) and evangelicals supported him 50% to 18% over Romney.
Still, as the vote drew closer, Romney surged ahead. Romney gathered a large crowd on Friday and emphasized that he's the right candidate to defeat President Obama. “This guy is out of ideas and he’s out of excuses, so in 2012 we’re gonna get him out of office,” Romney said. “The reason he’s got to go is that he would take America in a place we wouldn’t recognize. He wants to fundamentally transform America. I want to restore to America the principles that made this the strongest nation on earth.”
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