Rick Santorum Wins Tennessee

Rick Santorum won the Tennessee primary on Super Tuesday, his first win of the evening.

Santorum was announced the winner with 15% of polls in the state reporting, notching 45% of the vote and beating out closest GOP rival Mitt Romney, who had 28% of the vote.

No surprise there. Earlier in the day, exit polls already showed Santorum would take the state.

The state is voting with a "winner-take-most" formula. Twenty-seven delegates from the state's congressional districts and 28 elected at-large will be apportioned according to the candidates' final vote totals, with top finishers earning delegates at a higher percentage rate.

Weekend tornadoes in the state weighed heavily on Tennessee voters, and likely eclipsed Super Tuesday news in the state over the last few days.

As PolicyMic pundit Martin Stern explains: "Heading in the Super Tuesday, much of the fervor and excitement surrounding the GOP presidential primaries has been dampened slightly by a series of tornadoes the hit the state and surrounding region on Friday, leaving injuries and massive clean-up efforts in its wake.”

Newt Gingrich had been looking for an upset in the Volunteer State, making the rounds throughout Tennessee in hopes of corralling a miracle victory that he received in South Carolina back in January – and play on the momentum of winning his home state of Georgia. 

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) came in last in the state.

In Tennessee, 38% of voters identify themselves as very conservative, a bloc Santorum handily won in Michigan's primary earlier this week and will likely play to his advantage. 

In early voting, voters in both parties contributed to a turnout of 21,355. Early voting ended on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The total was less than the 30,000 early voting total of 2008, but twice the early voter turnout countywide for the 2004 presidential primary.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore