Mitt Romney wins Washington state caucuses

Mitt Romney won the Republican caucuses Saturday in Washington state.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Romney captured 38 percent of the vote, followed by Ron Paul with 25 percent, Rick Santorum--about 500 votes behind Paul--with 24 percent, and Newt Gingrich with 10 percent.

None of the state's 43 delegates were awarded Saturday, but the victory gives a sense of momentum to Romney's candidacy, three days before the 10-state election on Super Tuesday. Washington is the fifth state in a row that Romney has won in the Republican Party's presidential nominating process.

All of the candidates spent time campaigning in Washington, but Romney and Paul invested the most organizational effort. Neither Romney nor Santorum spent caucus night in Washington, choosing to campaign in Ohio instead, where 66 delegates are up for grabs on Tuesday. Only Paul is scheduled to be in the state when the results were announced. He was also the only candidate to buy air time in the state, spending $40,000 on television ads. He is planning to campaign in Alaska on Sunday.

In a speech in Blue Ash, Ohio earlier Saturday morning, Santorum downplayed his chances in Washington, saying it would be a "surprise" if he won there and emphasizing that his campaign was outspent in the state.

"We're trailing in the polls out there, but we feel like we might do pretty well," he said. "It would be a nice surprise heading into Super Tuesday's events here to have a good lift out of the state of Washington."

The campaigns will now turn their attention to the 10-state contest on Tuesday, when 419 delegates--nearly 40 percent of the number required to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination--are at stake.

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