- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rick Santorum won Kansas’ GOP caucuses handily on Saturday, notching yet another win in the country’s heartland as he tried to keep pace with front-runner Mitt Romney.

But Mr. Romney’s campaign said it still won the delegate chase for the day with wins in the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands as well as picking up delegates in Wyoming, where representatives elected in earlier caucuses officially chose delegates to the nominating convention.

Mr. Santorum won an impressive 51 percent of the vote in Kansas, followed by Mr. Romney at 21 percent, Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Rep. Ron Paul trailing with 13 percent.

That overwhelming victory meant Mr. Santorum won 33 of the state’s 40 delegates, and Mr. Romney won the other seven. Mr. Santorum now catapults into second place in the overall delegate race, ahead of Mr. Gingrich but still well behind Mr. Romney.

The Romney campaign said Mr. Santorum will need to win 65 percent of all delegates still to be awarded if he is to win the nomination — something the former Pennsylvania senator fell short of on Saturday.

Mr. Santorum has now won caucuses in Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota and North Dakota as well as primaries in Tennessee and Oklahoma and a non-binding primary in Missouri.

Mr. Gingrich has won Georgia and South Carolina, while Romney has won the rest of the two dozen states and the three territories that have voted. But Mr. Romney has yet to pick up a convincing win in the country’s heartland, where Mr. Santorum has dominated. Instead, the former Massachusetts governor’s victories have been in coastal states and along the U.S.’s international boundaries.