Mitt Romney may have hoped to deliver a devastating blow to Rick Santorum's campaign tonight, but voters in the South had other ideas: Santorum has won the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, reports Politico. What's more, Romney ended up running third to Newt Gingrich in both states. A look at the current numbers, as per CNN:
- Mississippi: Santorum wins (33%), Gingrich (31%), Romney (30%), Paul (4%). It has 37 delegates, to be divided proportionately.
- Alabama: Santorum wins (35%), Gingrich (29.3%), Romney (29%), Paul (5%). It has 47 delegates, to be divided proportionately.
Exit polls showed that born-again and evangelical Christians dominated the turnout in both states, as did those who called themselves conservative, all good signs for Santorum, reports AP. "We did it again," he told supporters after Alabama was called, making light of Romney's status as the "inevitable" nominee. Gingrich sounded a similar theme: "If you're the front-runner and you keep finishing third, you're not much of a front-runner." Gingrich congratulated Santorum but noted that he's leaving with a nice delegate haul himself. Romney wasn't expected to speak. (Read more Alabama stories.)