Mitt Romney looked certain to continue his march toward a showdown with President Barack Obama, leading Rhode Island in Tuesday’s primary with 63 percent of the statewide vote. That was with 96 percent of districts reporting as of 10:15 p.m., according to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis's election results web page.
Locally, Romney won the Middletown vote with 64 percent, or 181 of the votes.
The former Massachusetts governor defeated Ron Paul, the closest challenger, who received 20.1 percent of the vote—57 votes total— in Middletown. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich checked in with 8.8 percent, or 25 votes, while Sen. Rick Santorum, whose name remained on the ballot despite his decision to back out of the race two weeks ago, captured 6.4 percent (18 votes).
Statewide, the former Massachusetts governor garnered 8,616 total votes. Ron Paul captured 3,264 votes (23.9 percent) with 96 percent of the vote counted. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 831 votes (6.1 percent), while Sen. Rick Santorum managed 769 votes, 5.6 percent.
On the Democratic side, President Barack Obama, who was running unopposed, stood at 83.8 percent of the Rhode Island tally as of 10:15 p.m.
Romney won the local vote in most cities and towns, but by collecting more than 15 percent of the overall vote, Paul earned at least a share of the 19 delegates up for grabs in the primary. Rhode Island is the only state in which the GOP splits the delegate pool, according to the WRNI's On Politics blog.
There were 200 total delegates at stake in Tuesday’s votes in Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. With most numbers in, Romney appeared headed for a sweep nationally, taking Delaware with 57 percent of the vote, Connecticut with 67 percent, Pennsylvania with 60 percent. Romney was leading New Ne York with only 7 percent reporting as of late Tuesday night.
Going into Tuesday, Romney held 698 total delegates, leading Santorum by more than 400, according to the New York Times delegate tally. He needs 1,144 to clinch the Republican nomination.