Republican Mitt Romney grabs Ohio from Rick Santorum in tight duel for presidential nomination

CINCINNATI - Mitt Romney has outdueled Rick Santorum in Ohio, claiming the hotly contested, pivotal Super Tuesday state.

Romney did best in Ohio metropolitan areas, as well as among voters worried about the economy and making sure the GOP nominated the best candidate to defeat President Barack Obama.

The former Massachusetts governor had nearly 38 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting unofficial returns. Santorum was sixth-tenths of a percentage point behind at 37.2 percent. Romney prevailed in another November swing state to bolster his front-runner status over the former Pennsylvania senator.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich was third, at 15 percent, in the state that lies between Romney's native Michigan and Santorum's home state. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who largely bypassed Ohio, was running fourth at 9 percent.

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