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Primary victories by Santorum underscore Romney’s woes with conservatives

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rick Santorum won three contests in the race for the Republican nod for the presidency.

The former Pennsylvania senator’s victories Tuesday in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado were not determinative because each of those states will decide delegates to the GOP convention in additional forums in the coming months.

However, his wins — particularly in Minnesota and Colorado, states in which front-runner Mitt Romney expected to do well — underscore the difficulties for the former Massachusetts governor in attracting conservative support.

Additionally, while Santorum does not necessarily garner delegates from the victories, the publicity is likely to spur his fundraising ahead of other major races.

In Minnesota, a state Romney won in the 2008 race, he finished third behind Santorum and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who is running a candidacy based primarily on fiscal responsibility and a lower U.S. profile overseas that would involve distancing from Israel.

Santorum won 45 percent of the state’s caucus-goers, Paul garnered 27 percent and Romney took 17 percent.

Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker who last month won an important race in South Carolina, came in fourth in Minnesota and third in Colorado. He did not contest Missouri.

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