As it happened: Super Tuesday

Key points

  • Republican front-runner Mitt Romney narrowly edged out Rick Santorum in Ohio, Super Tuesday's most coveted prize
  • Romney won in Ohio, Massachusetts, Idaho, Virginia and Vermont, while Santorum took Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota
  • Newt Gingrich secured victory in Georgia, but did not win the sweep of Southern states he hoped for

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    Welcome to our live coverage of the Super Tuesday Republican primary and caucus votes. With 10 states voting today, a clear across-the-board win for any one candidate could well bring some clarity to what has so far been a long race full of twists and turns. Will that be outcome? Follow us here for all the latest news, analysis, tweets, pictures and results throughout the day.


    Super Tuesday can make or break a candidacy, but today's contest is unlikely to crown a clear Republican nominee. Mitt Romney is still the front-runner but Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are all expected to pick up some delegates as they seek to stay in the race.

    1217: Ian Pannell, BBC News, Columbus, Ohio

    Blue skies over Columbus, Ohio on the biggest day in the nomination calendar. Polls have Santorum and Romney too close to call in this key state. Steady voting underway.


    Primary season for the Republicans has had no shortage of ups and downs. There have been about 20 debates, most televised, with several candidates peaking in popularity before official voting began in January.


    Since the first votes were cast in Iowa and New Hampshire in early January, former Pennslyvania Senator Rick Santorum has seen a surge in his popularity. After a hat-trick of wins in early February, Mitt Romney's campaign and its allies have come down hard against him, launching waves of ads and seeking to label him as a career politician tainted by years in Washington.

    Katty Kay Washington Correspondent, BBC World News America

    tweets: Romney cld well close deal today but IF economy continues to pick up his rationale for running weakens - he'll need to broaden appeal.


    Mr Romney, who has won the lion's share of his delegates in Florida, New Hampshire and Arizona, has spent millions on his campaign but has not won the hearts of conservative voters. Newt Gingrich, House speaker during the Clinton administration, has tussled with Mr Santorum for voters who describe themselves as "very conservative".


    Texas Congressman Ron Paul has taken a more unconventional approach to campaigning since the early January contests. He has focused his efforts on the Western caucus states, where his support is stronger and the process can benefit him. He even campaigned in Alaska, a rare stop for a presidential candidate.


    To win the Republican nomination, a candidate needs 1,144 delegates. Check where the candidates stand right now with our handy delegate tracker. A total of 424 delegates are up for grabs today.

    Google Politics

    tweets: Check out our search data on all #SuperTuesday states. Which candidates and issues are trending?


    Neal Thompson, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, writes: I went to a Newt Gingrich rally last night at the airport. He is surging in the polls here and may win. He represents our conservative values in the South.

    1300: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Atlanta

    is following the Newt Gingrich campaign today. He reports from an early meeting in the crucial state for the former speaker: "Newt Gingrich will go on his staff say - he's campaigning in Alabama today after a quick breakfast in Georgia with a local Chamber of Commerce. There he joked that at times his campaign was like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense - he was the only one in the room that didn't know that he was dead."


    Conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who earlier endorsed the "sweet meteor of death" over a specific Republican candidate, tweets: "I still haven't decided if I'm going to vote today".


    Mitt Romney spent yesterday campaigning in Ohio - but returned to home state Massachusetts today.

    Mitt Romney waves to a campaign crowd in Zainesville, Ohio 5 March 2012

    Mitt Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts, was born in Michigan and lived in Utah - his peripatetic existence and multiple homes have given rival Rick Santorum a new line of attack: he joked in Ohio today that Mr Romney has "about five home states". However, Mr Santorum lived in Virginia, not Pennslyvania, during his (unsuccessful) 2006 Senate re-election bid.


    Ohio, with 63 delegates at stake, will be a crucial state today and in the general election. No Republican nominee has lost the state in the general election and become president.


    As the Republicans vote, President Barack Obama is holding his first open press conference of the year. Questions are expected on Iran, Syria and the recent debate about contraception, into which the president waded last week. He started his address with a sideways reference to the events elsewhere: "I understand that there are some political contests going on tonight".

    Karen Townsend

    Texas conservative political blogger, tweets: Obama's first press conference of the year just happens to be on Super Tuesday. Classic Obama.


    Newt Gingrich will speak to supporters in Huntsville, Alabama today. The location of this speech? The US Space and Rocket Center. NBC reporter Alex Moe tweets a photo of the location on the social media site Instagram.


    Huntsville is a historic location for rocket-building for the US space programme - but it has seen higher unemployment in recent years as budgets have been cut - the BBC visited some of its residents earlier this year.


    We'll bring you notable campaign-related news from President Obama's news conference as it emerges. Here's one: asked about rising fuel prices and his previous statements about wanting to wean the US off fossil fuels, Mr Obama says: "Do you think any president going into re-election wants gas prices to go up?"


    Chuckles from the press pack as Obama was asked about what he would say to Mitt Romney, who dubbed him America's "most feckless president since Jimmy Carter". Mr Obama, paused, smiled and replied simply: "Good luck tonight," before saying: "No, really".


    Well that's it from the diversion to the White House. We can all refocus on the races at hand this evening - Mr Obama included, perhaps?


    In case the president is watching, The Washington Post's Fix blogger Chris Cillizza tweets: 5 storylines to watch on Super Tuesday.


    Proof that Ron Paul was campaiging in Alaska - Eva Langton, Alaska, emails: "I was at the appearance Dr Paul made here in Fairbanks on Sunday; I was amazed at the amount of people who crowded into the tiny ballroom in a local hotel."


    The Alaska campaign stop shows just how closely fought this race has been across multiple states. The long slog has led to thousands of photo-ops for the Republican candidates. The New York Times takes a look back at the best photos of the 2012 primary season, week-by-week.

    Dave Weigel, Slate political reporter

    tweets from Georgia: Voters in Duluth, at least at this polling place, hyper aware of the Limbaugh controversy. Bringing it up unbidden.


    As a reminder: Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh angered many last week when he referred to a Georgetown University law student who had testified to Congress in support of contraception coverage a "slut". The fall-out? Mr Obama phoned the law student to say her parents should be proud of her. Limbaugh apologised, lost 24 advertisers (at the last count) and was dropped by a handful of radio stations.


    Last word on Limbaugh goes to the BBC's Brian Wheeler, who wrote today about whether or not his show could survive a large-scale boycott.


    Aside from that Alaska jaunt, Ron Paul has spent most of his pre-Super Tuesday campaigning in Idaho, which offers 32 delegates. Paul visited an aircraft factory on Monday and a town meeting.

    Rep Ron Paul signs an autograph for Bonner County commisioner Cornell Rasor Ron Paul signs an autograph for Bonner County commisioner Cornell Rasor after a town hall meeting
    1509: Steve Kingstone BBC News, Washington

    takes a look at how the four candidates have been preparing for tonight's votes.

    1530: Paul Adams BBC News, Washington

    In the hurly-burly of the GOP primary process, it may sometimes seem as if social issues have taken centre-stage. But ultimately it's about the economy. The president says things are looking up but that there's still plenty of work to do. In Tennessee recently, we saw both sides of this. In Union City, we spoke to some of the 2,000 Goodyear workers laid off last year. But in Spring Hill, the GM plant is brimming with optimism at the thought of producing cars again. Decline or regeneration? Which story feels more real to most Americans? Much hangs on the answer, now and in November.


    And you can hear more from the BBC's Paul Adams in his full radio report from Tennessee - one of the critical races in the South today.


    Rick Santorum has been leading the polls slightly in the Southern state of Tennessee, but Gingrich and Romney were gaining on him. With 55 delegates on offer, to be awarded proportionally, the candidates are eager to tuck in.

    Diana, from Troy, Ohio

    writes: I don't like any of them. What is the choice here? I don't trust them and feel depressed about the possibility of any of these guys running our country. Rick Santorum was here in Troy over the weekend. I saw in the paper that 100 people turned out to see him. Only 100 people in a town of about 25,000!


    Fox News contributor Liz Peek highlights President Obama's campaign mode and why it has started early: "Team Obama is taking nothing for granted, nor should it."


    The Washington Post's EJ Dionne lays out the stakes for Ohio: "For all the sensible hedges people will offer, the fact is that if Mitt Romney beats Rick Santorum in Ohio, the Santorum campaign will be dealt a mortal blow. If Santorum beats Romney, it will once again be a sign of how weak a frontrunner Romney is. Santorum will have momentum again - and also good reason to ask Newt Gingrich to step aside."

    Reporter Joe Deaux

    in New York, tweets: Just received a "Young Republicans" Super Tuesday viewing party media invite. Apparently 40 years old is the top end of "Young."


    Envisaging a potential Obama-Romney election match-up, Ronald Brownstein, at the Atlantic, writes the Romney campaign is not doing well among a crucial election bloc: working-class whites.


    Newt Gingrich, awkwardly, is not on the ballot in his adopted home state of Virginia, and he will not be voting at all today, nor will his wife Callista. Only Romney and Paul gathered enough signatures to qualify. A Gingrich spokesman deadpans: "In this Republican primary, when given a choice between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, they [the Gingriches] could not pick either one."

    1543: Paul Adams BBC News, Washington

    One note from today's White House press conference: amid tensions over Iran and Syria, with GOP candidates and others urging tougher action, Barack Obama sounded a stern note. "When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war," he said, "I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. This is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it."

    John Mamola, from Tampa, Florida

    tweets: Super Tuesday is called super because typically the candidate is determined by now. The longer it goes on, the more likely Obama 2012 happens - fact.


    How have the candidates fared on Twitter? Its blog shares a striking rollercoaster of a graph on the number of tweets for each candidate since January.


    Santorum went into Super Tuesday with a healthy opinion poll lead in Oklahoma, one of the reddest US states. The Sooner State hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since 1964. In the last election, Republican John McCain swept 66% of the vote there, the highest Republican percentage of any state that year.

    1643: Ian Pannell BBC News, Columbus, Ohio

    Ohio's demographic will test the breadth of the candidates' appeal. It may be classic rust-belt, blue-collar country but there's also plenty of hi-tech, healthcare and science industries there these days and the key to general election success isn't niche marketing but mass appeal.

    Neurobound, in Los Angeles

    tweets: \u200fWhy is it so obvious to many that Romney, Santorum or Gingrich will hand the election to Obama, yet this eludes the GOP?


    Boston media report that Romney will cast his ballot in the state at around 17:00 (22:00 GMT). He is viewed as a shoo-in to win Massachusetts, the state where he was governor.

    Nadja, in Massachusetts

    writes: There's little doubt that Romney will win Massachusetts, but we're a proportional representation state, so I tried to throw some support behind the candidate I think will be number two. I don't want it to be too easy for any one candidate. I'd rather they have to really duke it out.


    A recurring theme of this year's Republican race has been a dearth of enthusiasm for the candidates. Here's what one voter told AFP news agency outside a polling station in Ohio: "I voted for Romney because he has more experience and is older, but to be honest with you, I don't think that any one of the Republicans is qualified to be president of the United States."

    1700: Ian Pannell, BBC News, Columbus, Ohio

    If the Republican nomination is now all about the delegate count, is the media focusing on the wrong Super Tuesday States? Interesting analysis from Mark Blumenthal.

    Sam Youngman, Reuters correspondent, Boston, Massachusetts

    tweets: Romney came back to chat before we took off from Columbus. He and Ann were all smiles, but said they're happy to be home tonight.

    A lone voter casts a ballot in Pemberville, Ohio, 6 March 2012

    A lone voter casts a ballot in Pemberville, Ohio. Election officials in the Buckeye State have reported lower volumes of voters than in previous years.


    Who said it: Rick Santorum or Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei? Foreign Policy has a quiz.


    In a similarly tongue-in-cheek vein, another quiz from Mad magazine: Who said it: Mitt Romney or Mr Burns?


    Super Tuesday is a more modest affair than 2008, when 21 states went to the polls, including some of the bumper ones like California and New York. In fact, last time around John McCain picked up more than half the delegates he needed to win the nomination. Romney cannot emulate that feat tonight.


    Exit polls are emerging. The New York Times' Nate Silver tweets that 45% of Ohio voters and 71% of Tennessee voters identified themselves as evangelical Christians - up 5% from 2008 in both states.

    Joseph Morales, in Amarillo, Texas

    \u200ftweets: I wonder if Santorum and Gingrich supporters will vote for Ron Paul in Virginia's primary in order to skew votes.

    1758: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    At a polling station in Ohio I meet a voter who is worried the Republicans have been dragged to the right in this race and won't appeal to moderates anymore. (He wanted Olympia Snowe as a candidate). It is something commentators often say, but interesting to hear it from a Republican voter.

    Greg Markey, in Ottawa, Canada

    tweets: Is it bad that as a Canadian, I find Super Tuesday more exciting than our general elections? They aren't even electing a president!

    Mitt and Ann Romney vote in the Massachusetts primary in Belmont, Massachusetts 6 March 2012

    Here's Mitt and Ann Romney walking out of a polling station in Belmont, Massachusetts, where they cast their votes just a short while ago.

    Konway, in Nashville, Tennessee

    tweets: Tennessee voting precincts are reporting record low turnout numbers so far. Way to get behind your candidates, Republicans.


    More details from the exit polls: CNN found that 63% of primary voters in Tennessee said they were Tea Party supporters.

    1815: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    What to watch for: If Gingrich doesn't win Georgia, he's out. If Santorum can't take Tennessee and Ohio he's seriously damaged. If Romney takes Ohio he's nearly home. Overall we should know if the contest feels as if it's nearly over, or if it'll stagger on for a while yet.

    Chad in Alexandria, Virginia

    writes: I'm independent but being gay leads me to lean toward the Democratic Party. All of the Republican candidates are unimaginable as president. Obama has been disappointing in some ways but he has been very supportive of gay equality overall.


    An Esquire correspondent spent a day campaigning for Santorum in Georgia. His Confessions of a Rick Santorum Volunteer is a revealing behind-the-scenes insight into the former senator's organisation.


    CNN exit polls suggest that large numbers of voters do not think Mitt Romney is conservative enough. In Georgia, 53% agreed with that statement, while 47% in Ohio and 48% in Tennessee felt the same.


    The first wave of ABC exit polls suggest Romney's support is from voters who see him as best able to beat Obama, while Santorum's backers tended to be more conservative and working-class. More than half of Ohio voters said the economy was their top issue.


    More from ABC exit polls: Three-quarters of voters in Tennessee said it was important the candidate shared their religious beliefs, which may not bode particularly well for Romney, a Mormon.


    Yet more from the the ABC exit poll: Oklahoma voters are lower on the income scale than those in other states, with more than four in 10 earning less than $50,000 a year. And nearly half of Oklahoma voters described themselves as "very" conservative.

    1839: Paul Adams BBC News, Washington

    Will Georgia be the first really interesting story of the night? Polls closing in three states at the top of the hour. Virginia and Vermont should be Romney wins (if they aren't, he's in trouble). But Newt Gingrich really needs to do well in Georgia in order to survive beyond Super Tuesday.


    According to exit polls by the Washington Post, in three key states, Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee, two thirds of voters said they thought business experience was more important for an effective president than a track record in politics. Could this bode well for CEO Romney?

    Eva Langton in Fairbanks, Alaska

    writes: I was at the appearance Dr Paul made here on Sunday. I was amazed at the amount of people who crowded into the tiny ballroom in a local hotel. Most people I know really like his ideas and think he is correct in his thinking, but they follow up with a "too bad he won't win".

    1847: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Atlanta

    Voting has just ended in Georgia, Vermont, Virginia. US networks are projecting Newt Gingrich has won Georgia, and that Romney is ahead in the other two states.


    CNN's exit polls for Vermont suggest Mitt Romney has about 38% of the vote, with Ron Paul following him in second place. In contrast with some of the larger Super Tuesday states, 74% of voters there described themselves as not having an evangelical Christian affiliation.

    Katty Kay Washington Correspondent, BBC World News America

    tweets: Exit polls suggest electability biggest issue for Ohio voters - gd for Romney but longer this goes on, harder it cld be for him to win WH.


    Mitt Romney has been projected as the winner in Virginia. Early vote counts suggest that he has as much as 58% of the vote in some counties, according to CNN.

    Newt Gingrich

    tweets: Thank you Georgia! It is gratifying to win my home state so decisively to launch our March Momentum. #MarchMo #250gas #SuperTuesday

    Erick Erickson, editor of

    tweets: This is looking to be a bad night for Santorum. If he splits conservatives with Romney in Ohio, he probably won't win Ohio.


    Breaking down initial projections that Newt Gingrich has won the primary in his home state of Georgia, the New York Times suggests that his support came from older voters, those without a college degree, the very conservative, rural voters, white evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters.


    Brace for rush hour! Ohio projections up soon. Chris Cillizza at Washinton Post's The Fix says Ohio voters appear to be better educated and wealthier than they were in 2008. This could be good news for Mitt Romney. Cillizza also says the electorate has a larger proportion of Catholic voters, who might throw their weight behind Rick Santorum.

    1928: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Atlanta

    Big cheer at Gingrich HQ as network calls Georgia for him.


    Doors close at Ohio polling stations. No Republican nominee has ever become president without winning this state in the general election, so tonight's primary result has symbolic importance. In this closely fought state, exit polls show 40% for Mitt Romney and 36% for Rick Santorum, making the race too close to call.


    With 27% of the vote counted in Virginia, Mitt Romney is out in front with 56% of the vote. Ron Paul has 44%. They were the only two of the main candidates on the ballot after Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum failed to qualify.

    Katty Kay Washington Correspondent, BBC World News America

    tweets: Race could look very similar after Super Tuesday - all same weaknesses and issues - except Romney could be better off by the numbers.

    1945: Ian Pannell, BBC News, Columbus, Ohio

    Early exit poll analysis shows "electability" was the main motivating factor for voters in key Super Tuesday States. In other words: Which candidate has the best chance of beating Obama? Electability more important than conservative values, moral character or experience. Should bode well for Romney.


    Quick overview: most of the polls are shut now. Just Idaho and Alaska are still voting. The race in Ohio is still too close to call, but Gingrich has won Georgia and Romney has swept Virginia, Massachusetts and Vermont, according to projections. We are expecting forecasts for Oklahoma and Tennessee shortly.


    The Vermont primary has been declared in favour of Mitt Romney, according to the Associated Press. With 9% of the vote counted, Romney has 39%, followed by Ron Paul at 26%.

    2004: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    Newt Gingrich is tweeting about "march momentum" after his Georgia win. He'll stay in the race and try to make himself the southern candidate.


    The next wave of states have closed their polls: Tennessee, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. Massachusetts is being called for Mitt Romney, who is forecast to have secured 70% of the vote.

    Kathy Cronin in Monument Beach, Massachusetts

    writes: I voted for Mitt Romney today. We need jobs and an improved economy. He's the one to beat Obama. I'm an independent voter from Massachusetts, who voted for Obama the last time. We need a president who can unite, not divide.


    Delving a little deeper into the results from Virginia, Ron Paul appears to have captured most of independent voters.


    Oklahoma exit polls suggest 38% of the vote is for Rick Santorum, with Mitt Romney behind at 25%.

    Claudia Bell in Youngstown, Ohio

    writes: I voted for Santorum in Ohio today since he most closely reflects my values. Two of the more important issues I look for in a candidate are his view on the life of the unborn as well as his view on Obama Care, which is totally unacceptable, at least in its current form. I also don't think that it's right that the guy who raises the most money wins.


    Nearly three quarters of the vote has been counted in Virginia, and Romney has 59% of the vote. Analysis from ABC News suggests that Romney managed to capture the votes of evangelicals and very conservative voters - groups with whom he has struggled in the past.


    David Frum tweeted: This is not looking like the Romney blow-out it needs to be.

    2022: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Atlanta

    Newties are carrying signs with a petrol pump and the figure 2.50 on it, a reference to Newt Gingrich's pledge to lower gas prices to $2.50.


    @BuzzFeedBen tweets: Huh: So far more votes for Obama in OH tonight than for all Republicans (who have actual campaigns) combined

    The Fix from the Washington Post

    tweets: Judging body language and rhetoric, it doesn't sound like Santorum folks are optimistic about Ohio.

    2025: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    All the usual caveats about it still being early on, but it looks to me as if all shall have prizes. Each candidate will probably have enough to crow about to give them some hope, enough at least to stay in the race. Romney may have the most to celebrate, on paper at least, but it must feel like crawling across broken glass to reach the finishing line.


    We have 28% of Georgia's vote count in, and Gingrich is on 47.5% - that's just shy of the majority he needs to claim all 76 delegates from that state. Can he get there?

    NBC's David Gregory

    tweets: Four years ago yesterday john mccain was at the wh getting president bush's endorsement. #nbcsupertue

    2038: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Atlanta

    The Toby Keith hit "Made in America" is playing at Gingrich HQ. I think every candidate has used this elegy to American values.


    Newt Gingrich is at the podium to declare victory in Georgia. He tells the crowd: "We survived the national elites' effort to kill us", calling himself the "tortoise" of the Republican field, in an apparent reference to Aesop's fable.


    MSNBC is calling Oklahoma for Rick Santorum, which would be his second victory tonight after his projected win in Tennessee.


    With over 90% reporting in Virginia, Romney has secured more than 59% of the vote. This puts him on course to clinch all 46 of Virginia's delegates.


    In Ohio, the key swing state, with 12% of votes counted, Romney has a narrow lead on 39% of the vote, and 37% for Santorum.

    2100: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Atlanta

    As Gingrich speaks to his supporters the bad news rolls in from Tennessee - third place. The time he spent here defending his home seat may have hurt him elsewhere.

    Ohio Statehouse reporter Jim Siegel

    tweets: If polls hold, Romney's Ohio performance will mirror those in Fla, Michigan, starting off behind, pulling it out with big $$ advantage


    Mitt Romney is also due to speak soon. He is expected to tell supporters: "Tonight, we've taken one more step toward restoring the promise of America. Tomorrow, we wake up and we start again. And the next day we do the same." He's projected to win in Vermont, Virginia and Massachusetts, but of course we're all still waiting to see what happens in Ohio.

    Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, as he delivers his victory speech in Atlanta, Georgia 6 March 2012

    Newt Gingrich delivered a meandering victory speech in Atlanta, Georgia, while supporters chanted "Newt! Newt! Newt!" around him.


    We have 15% of the Oklahoma vote now, where Santorum has notched up 35% of the ballots cast. Gingrich is behind him in second place with 27.1%, but Romney is hot on his heels with 26.8%.


    With 15% of Ohio's vote count in, Santorum has edged into the front of the pack with 38.7%. He's speaking now, from a high school gymnasium in Steubenville, Ohio, declaring victory in Oklahoma and Tennessee.

    Molly Ball, writer at the Atlantic

    tweets: I don't think Romney camp expected OH to be this close. Expecting to hear a LOT about delegates...


    Romney has slipped into third place in Oklahoma, with over 36% of the vote count in. Rick Santorum is ahead at 34%, followed by 27.4% for Newt Gingrich. Santorum appears to have the edge in almost all of the counties reporting there so far.

    Katty Kay Washington Correspondent, BBC World News America

    tweets: If Santorum does well in Ohio, and many decided late, what was the effect of the recent contraception debate? Did it drive his supporters?


    Rick Santorum is speaking to an Ohio crowd on the familiar theme of championing the constitution and pitching himself as the true conservative candidate in the Republican race.


    Romney is now at 40.6% in the Vermont vote count, with 48.8% reporting. Meanwhile, Gingrich is still just short of the majority he needs in Georgia to claim all the delegates there. With 55.2% reporting, he has 48.4% of the vote.


    Santorum describes his campaign's Super Tuesday achievements as a "couple of gold medals", referring to Oklahoma and Tennessee, and tells supporters that he is getting ready to win all across the country.


    Here's video of Ron Paul in Fargo, North Dakota, talking about one of his favourite topics: protecting US civil liberties. He hasn't won a contest yet, although the states where he is most likely to make a breakthrough - Idaho and Alaska - are still open for voting. He may yet emerge from tonight's race with a smattering of delegates.


    As the Ohio votes trickle in, Rick Santorum widens his lead a little further. He now stands at 39% of the vote, versus Mitt Romney's 35.4%. So far, 28.8% of the vote has been counted and there's still no clear winner in the Buckeye State.


    Now it's Mitt Romney's turn to take to the stage. His wife Ann opens the proceedings in Boston, declaring three wins "and counting".


    "What a great night," Romney says, promising the crowd he's not going to let them down. "I'm gonna get this nomination."


    The New York Times' Adam Nagrourney tweets: Romney is giving a concession speech and a victory speech at the same time! How limber!


    Mitt Romney tells crowd: "President Obama has run out of excuses, he's run out of ideas. We're going to get him out."


    Buzzfeed's Ben Smith tweets: Ohio hands at Romney party say they don't expect to know OH for sure til 11 or 1130


    Romney tells Americans: "You have not failed - your president has failed you." He repeatedly bashes Obama, pledging to repeal "Obamacare", as he speaks in the very state where, as governor, Romney introduced the scheme that was the model for Obama's healthcare reforms.

    2201: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    Santorum says he's won a couple of gold medals tonight and a "whole passel of silver". But he needs another gold - Ohio - to really change perceptions in this race. It looks very tight. If he does win it he does very serious damage to Romney. If he doesn't Romney continues his slow crawl to victory.

    The Fix from the Washington Post

    tweets: Romney says all the right things if you are a Republican. But the excitement factor just isn't there. May not matter. But it's true.


    In Virginia, 99.8% of the vote has been counted and Romney has secured about 59.4% of the vote, enough to scoop all 46 delegates. Meanwhile, Ron Paul has secured 40.6% of the vote.


    Polls close in Idaho - though a winner hasn't been projected in the Gem State yet - leaving Alaska as the last state still voting.


    CNN calls North Dakota for Rick Santorum. With just over half the vote counted, he is ahead on 39.4%, while Ron Paul is second with 27.6% and Romney third at 25%.


    The front-runners are still neck and neck in the Buckeye State of Ohio, where Santorum maintains a slight edge with 38.1% of the vote over Romney's 36.4%. Ohio allocates its delegates by congressional district, which means Romney could take more of them even if Santorum wins the popular vote.

    Aaron Free in New Philadelphia, Ohio

    writes: The race has been long and drawn out. Really, all four candidates have some aspect about them that makes them attractive. There is still not one solid individual that could represent the Republican Party, and I think the results show that.


    Although many counties are still counting votes in Ohio, Romney appears to be pulling ahead in urban areas, with a cluster of districts around Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati leaning in his favour. Santorum appears to have done well in much of the rest of the state.


    Results trickle in from Idaho. With 4.5% of the vote in, Romney is streaking ahead with 66% of the vote. Ron Paul was second on 15%. Since the state allocates delegates proportionally, Paul may not leave empty handed, but tonight's hardly looking like a game-changer for the Texas congressman.


    Here's a clip of Newt Gingrich, who declared victory in Georgia earlier this evening with some typically colourful metaphors. The former House speaker used the podium to cast the race as a contest between elites and Main Street.


    In Oklahoma, with more than 85% reporting, Santorum has racked up 33.9% of the vote. Romney is hanging on to second place on 28% - just ahead of Gingrich, who has over 27% of the vote.


    We bring you some of the highlights of Rick Santorum's address earlier this evening, as he told cheering supporters in Ohio that he was confident there were more "medals to win" in his bid for the Republican nomination.


    Santorum has been hanging on to his slight advantage in Ohio as the vote count continues. With 67% of the vote in and just a 2% margin between the front-runners, it looks like this contest could go down to the wire. Stay tuned.

    Arctic Gambino in Toronto, Canada

    tweets: Remember the Florida Primary when everyone (including me) declared Santorum's run over. What a turnaround since then.


    In Ohio, we have 75% of the vote reporting and the candidates are tied at 37%. Nail-biting stuff!


    Super Tuesday - the story so far: Mitt Romney bags three wins in Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia. Rick Santorum replies with a hat-trick in Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota. Both are in a dead heat in the marquee state of Ohio. Newt Gingrich took Georgia, his home state. No winner declared yet in Idaho or Alaska.


    @joshtpm tweets: Think [political commentator Paul] Begala just had the best one liner of the evening. If Romney were this bad at closing deals on Wall Street, he'd be homeless.


    Fox News is calling Idaho in favour of Romney. With 18% of the vote counted, Romney has galloped ahead of the competition with nearly 80% of the vote. Way behind, Ron Paul is at 12%.


    Romney seems to be making up ground as the cliffhanger vote count continues in Ohio. Remember, he has a slight advantage over his rival when it comes to the delegate count, since Santorum is not qualified to win delegates in a handful of Ohio districts where he did not make the ballot.

    Mitt Romney approaches the stage to deliver his victory speech after wins in Vermont, Virginia and Massachusetts on Super Tuesday 6 March 2012

    Mitt Romney was all smiles on the podium as he declared victory in Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts.


    If the margin of difference between Santorum and Romney is within 0.25% in Ohio's vote count, a mandatory recount will be required, according to C-Span. The candidates have been threading in and out of that narrow margin all evening. With 90.4% of the vote in, Romney has pulled into the lead with 37.7% and Santorum has dropped back to 37.2%.

    Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer

    tweets: After 21 states, Paul will have 0 wins. (he could win AK though). I know he leads a cause, but as a cand he should drop out


    Here's a clip of Mitt Romney earlier in the evening telling a crowd gathered in Boston, Massachusetts, that he would take his victory "all the way to the White House".


    Meanwhile, back in Ohio, it looks like Romney may be pulling ahead in tiny increments. Now with 91.5% reporting, Romney has amassed a 0.5% lead over Santorum, with 37.6% of the vote. If he can consolidate this lead, Romney may have just escaped recount territory.


    In North Dakota, all of the votes have been counted. Santorum emerged victorious, with 40% of the vote. He finished far ahead of Ron Paul, on 27.1%. In third place, Romney had 24.3% while Gingrich languished on 8.6%. In North Dakota, the final delegate allocation will reflect tonight's results, but they're not technically bound to a candidate.


    The polls in Alaska have just closed, at 00:00 ET (05:00 GMT). With 24, proportionally allocated delegates, the Last Frontier also represents Ron Paul's last hope of emerging from Super Tuesday with a win.


    Romney is still clawing his way ahead in Ohio. He outspent Santorum by a factor of four to one in that state, but with nearly 96% of the votes counted, Romney only has a wafer thin lead.


    Geographically, Santorum has emerged from Super Tuesday with a belt of support running through the country. In fact, all seven of the states he has won in the election campaign so far share borders with each other, as this interactive Google results map shows.


    It's official! The Associated Press declares that Mitt Romney wins in Ohio. With 99.4% of the vote in, Romney has 38% of the vote, while Santorum has 37%.


    David Axelrod tweets: Mitt squeaks by in Ohio behind a blizzard of negative ads, once again persuading a bare plurality that he is not as bad as the other guy.


    While we've been focusing on presidential politics, one other noteworthy nomination battle was settled tonight. Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, for raising working-class tax concerns with candidate Barack Obama in 2008, has just won the Republican nomination for an Ohio congressional district.

    0102: Paul Adams BBC News, Washington

    Despite the drama in Ohio, Super Tuesday mostly went according to script, delivering few real surprises. Romney remains what he was: the front-runner. But the next crop of states won't do him any favours. Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Hawaii hold their contests over the next 10 days. Santorum and Gingrich will be hoping to halt Romney's momentum and keep their challenges alive.

    Jim Galloway, journalist in Atlanta, Georgia

    tweets: Game, set, match: Mitt Romney wins Ohio -- and thus, Super Tuesday. #gagop #gapol


    And with that, we close our live coverage of Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum duked it out, with the battle for Ohio going right down to the wire. Romney eventually eked out a wafer-thin victory there, also winning Idaho, Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts. Santorum won a hat-trick in Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Dakota while Newt Gingrich secured his home state of Georgia. We'll bring you the results reaction - and the outcome in Alaska - here. Thanks for joining us!


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