Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Romney inches forward instead of big leap

By Rachel Streitfeld, CNN Political Producer
updated 9:49 AM EST, Wed March 7, 2012
  • In tight race, Romney takes Super Tuesday's biggest prize, Ohio
  • GOP frontrunner acknowledges race will require patience
  • Campaign says delegates, not wins, were focus in South

Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Mitt Romney doesn't get nervous on primary days.

That's good for him, because the Tuesday night battle for every last vote in Ohio was a nail-biter.

As Romney and Rick Santorum ran neck-and-neck and votes dribbled in from the Buckeye State, the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged the GOP primary season could require even more patience in the weeks -- or months -- to come.

"Tomorrow we wake up and we start again," Romney told a supportive audience in Boston. "And the next day we do the same. And so it will go, day by day, step by step, door to door, heart to heart."

How CNN projected Ohio win
No 'loser talk' from candidates
Borger: Romney 'underperformed'
Romney wins a close battle in Ohio

By the end, Romney said, he expected to become the GOP nominee.

And so Super Tuesday became the latest story in an unpredictable Republican primary season, in which Romney has long been considered the likely nominee but a pair of stubborn opponents continue to get in his path.

Super Tuesday results

The cluster of contests offered Romney the chance to quiet doubts about his ability to excite the Republican base.

But while pundits debated Romney's chances for victory in the conservative Southern states, his methodical campaign operation maintained it was focused on collecting delegates.

"It's really hard to predict what's going to happen tonight," Romney told reporters before the votes were counted Tuesday. "But I think we'll pick up a lot of delegates, and this is a process of gathering enough delegates to become the nominee, and I think we're on the track to have that happen."

Delegate tracker | Delegate calculator

When Romney made quick stops in Georgia and Tennessee before Super Tuesday, a senior adviser explained the campaign did not expect to win those states but instead to siphon some delegates from Romney's rivals.

The bellwether state of Ohio, however, stood out as the night's biggest prize.

Fueled by a string of wins, including a hugely symbolic Michigan victory, Romney returned his focus to the economy and President Barack Obama in appearances across Ohio. The GOP candidate toured industrial factories dotting the Midwestern landscape, and tried to woo blue-collar voters in speeches on cavernous factory floors.

Part of complete coverage on
Get all the latest news at CNN's Election Center. There are race updates, a delegate counter and much more.
A black man is returning to the White House. Four years ago, it was a first, the breaking of a racial barrier. Tuesday night, it was history redux. And more.
The 2012 presidential election shattered spending records, further polarized a divided country and launched a thousand hashtags.
updated 1:41 PM EST, Thu November 8, 2012
Democratic and Republican congressional leaders continue to sharply disagree over the key issue of whether top tax rates should be raised to help resolve the looming crisis.
updated 2:24 PM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
In a historic turnaround, the ballot box is showing America's shifting attitudes about same-sex marriage.
Even though voters indicated to pollsters that their financial situation is the same or worse than it was four years ago, they put their trust in the president.
updated 4:19 AM EST, Thu November 8, 2012
The president faces a long and familiar set of challenges after riding a wave of support from moderates, women and minorities to victory.
updated 9:27 AM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
Republicans kept a lock on the U.S. House of Representatives, a crucial victory after the party failed to wrest away the presidency from Barack Obama and the Senate from the Democrats.
updated 7:34 PM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
Democrats will retain their control of the Senate after winning several closely contested races on Tuesday.