Santorum sweep: Wins Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado

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“It would really mean a lot to Mitt and me to have your vote at the caucus,” Ann Romney said in a Tuesday call, adding that her husband is “a man of incredible character and honesty.”

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum have been sparring for weeks over which is the more viable conservative alternative to Mr. Romney.

Mr. Santorum made the first argument with a close win in Iowa, Mr. Romney won New Hampshire and Mr. Gingrich followed by clobbering them both in South Carolina.

Mr. Romney then ran off a string of impressive victories in Florida’s primary last week and Nevada’s caucuses over the weekend.

Mr. Paul has yet to win a contest.

Mr. Gingrich had that bright spot in South Carolina after two captivating debate performances, but hasn’t been able to capitalize since.

The Gingrich camp made little noise in Tuesday’s contests, preferring to save its powder for March 6 (Super Tuesday) and the wealth of Southern states where Mr. Gingrich has polled well.

Mr. Romney won Colorado and Minnesota in his failed 2008 bid for the GOP nomination, but came in third in that year’s Missouri primary.

Earlier Tuesday, the Romney campaign sent out a memo trying to tamp down expectations of the evening’s results.

“As our campaign has said from the outset, Mitt Romney is not going to win every contest,” political director Rich Beeson said. “John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents will notch a few wins, too. But unlike the other candidates, our campaign has the resources and organization to keep winning over the long run.”

Mr. Beeson said with no delegates being awarded in Tuesday’s contests, the race will be unchanged and Mr. Romney still will have an overwhelming lead in the tally. He vowed that Mr. Romney will compete next month when Missouri holds its caucuses, which will determine delegates.

In fact, the presidential race will remain static for most of February. The next contests to award delegates loom on Feb. 28, when Arizona and Michigan hold primaries. That will be followed a week later by Super Tuesday, whose biggest prize is Ohio.

As of Tuesday, all of the candidates were vowing to remain in the race for the foreseeable future.

“I’m certainly in it all the way to the convention,” Mr. Gingrich told CNN.

Stephen Dinan reported from Washington.

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