Mitt Romney won the Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York primaries by significant margins Tuesday night, a victory that will bring him closer to the Republican nomination he is presumed to win and further nudge out Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul from the presidential race.
Below are the results, according to Associated Press tallies:
NEW YORK (with 93.2% of precincts reporting): Romney, 62.4%; Paul, 15.7%; Gingrich 12.9%; Santorum, 9%
PENNSYLVANIA (with 99.2% of precincts reporting): Romney, 58.0%; Santorum 18.3%; Paul, 13.2%; Gingrich, 10.5%
CONNECTICUT (with 98.9% of precincts reporting): Romney, 67.4%; Paul, 13.5%; Gingrich, 10.3%; Santorum, 6.9%
RHODE ISLAND (with 100% of precincts reporting) : Romney, 63.2%; Paul, 23.9%; Gingrich, 6.1%; Santorum, 5.7%
DELAWARE: (with 100% of precincts reporting): Romney, 56.5%; Gingrich, 27.1%; Paul, 10.6%; Santorum, 5.9%
New York will award 95 delegates, while Delaware has 17 delegates at stake, Rhode Island has 19, Connecticut has 28 and Pennsylvania has 72. Romney's wins will bring him even closer to the 1,144 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination -- as of 10:00 pm ET, the Associated Press calculated Romney had gathered a total of 750.
Low turnouts were expected in the northeast, especially in traditionally Democratic states like New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware, now that the drama of the primary has mostly ended and Romney has all but officially won the Republican nomination.
President Barack Obama has already begun to attack Romney as his chief GOP rival, but the Massachusetts Republican worked to finalize the deal by rhetorically nudging out the struggling competition in a speech in New Hampshire as the results rolled in.
After 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and not a few long nights, I can say with confidence, and gratitude, that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility, Romney said in prepared remarks.
It's still about the economy ... and we're not stupid, he said, riffing on the slogan made famous by former President Bill Clinton in his successful run against then-incumbent President George H.W. Bush.
The End Of Newt Gingrich's Campaign?
Newt Gingrich had hinted in an NBC News interview that Delaware would be a final straw in his struggling candidacy, saying Monday that he would have to reassess his campaign if he did poorly in the state. Politico's Ginger Gibson reported that the former House Speaker has staked a lot of time in the state, although winning all 17 delegates in the winner-take all primary was a long shot.
Gingrich ended up trailing behind Romney with 27 percent of the vote to Romney's 56.5 percent. Even more embarrassing for the Georgia native was how Paul -- an outlier in the Republican establishment -- beat him in all of Tuesday's primaries except for Delaware and particularly crushed him in Rhode Island.
Still, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond was quick to point out that the GOP hopeful wasn't going anywhere. He told Yahoo's Chris Moody on Tuesday
that even if Gingrich lost Delaware, he will not be suspending his campaign. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson's wife, Miriam, recently pumped an extra $5 million into the super PAC that supports him.
I think it's a very substantial mistake for Gov. Romney to be pretending these primaries aren't occurring and for him to be having, quote, 'a general election' speech tonight in New Hampshire, Gingrich said earlier in the evening, according to ABC News.
Gingrich's campaign will continue to insist he's in it to win it, but his persistence -- despite his dim prospects -- continue to raise questions about what the former Speaker's goals and intentions truly are.
UPDATE: Senior campaign aides told Fox News that Gingrich plans on suspending his campaign next Tuesday. It's pretty clear Gov. Romney is going to be the nominee, he said in a campaign stop in North Carolina, according to CBS News.