Rick Santorum Wins Alabama Primary

rick santorum getty Rick Santorum Wins Alabama Primary

Rick Santorum could have a big night tonight

Rick Santorum won the Alabama primary tonight. NBC News declared Mr. Santorum the winner a little less than one hour after polls closed. Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the nomination, still holds a strong delegate lead, but he has had trouble winning primaries in the Southern states.

There are 50 delegates in Alabama. Three of Alabama’s delegates are unbound superdelegates, 21 are awarded based on Congressional districts and the other 26 are awarded based on statewide results. Each of Alabama’s seven Congressional districts awards three delegates based on a “winner takes most” system. If a candidate wins over 20 percent of a statewide vote they win all of the statewide delegates. Otherwise those 26 delegates are allocated proportionately. According to The New York Times, Mr. Santorum currently has 34.4 percent of the vote with 35 percent of precincts reporting.

The Alabama primary was a tough loss for Newt Gingrich, who is strongest in the Southern states and was counting on wins below the Mason Dixon line to help him make a “last stand” in the race for the Republican nomination. Alabama is one of four primaries occurring tonight along with Mississippi, a caucus in Hawaii and a caucus in American Samoa. American Samoa is expected to go to Mr. Romney because of that state’s large Mormon population. Mr. Romney also has a wide lead in the polls in Hawaii. The Mississippi primary is expected to be a close call between Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum. As of this writing, The New York Times says 63 percent of Mississippi’s precincts have reported and Mr. Santorum is leading with 32.8 percent of the vote followed by Mr. Gingrich at 31.7 percent and Mr. Romney with 30 percent.