RICHMOND, Va. — Mitt Romney rolled to primary victories in Virginia and Vermont and had a home-state, Massachusetts triumph in his pocket on Super Tuesday, reaching for a decisive advantage in the most turbulent race for the Republican presidential nomination in a generation.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich countered with a home-field win in Georgia as the GOP contenders battled for the chance to take on Democratic President Barack Obama in November.
Romney also dueled Rick Santorum in Ohio, their second industrial-state showdown in as many weeks.
Win or lose there, Romney said “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 track to have that happen.”
In all, more than 400 delegates were at stake on the night, with primaries in Tennessee and Oklahoma as well as Virginia, Vermont, Ohio, Massachusetts and Georgia. Caucuses in North Dakota, Idaho and Alaska rounded out the calendar.
Mitt Romney easily won a poor turnout election in Virginia.
Old Dominion Republicans could choose only between the former Massachusetts governor and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, whose libertarian streak has earned him a dedicated but small following. Former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both failed to make Virginia's ballot.
Forty-six of the state's 49 delegates were at stake in a race that generated little energy among the state's Republicans.