Rick Santorum wins Kansasa caucuses

Washington: Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum cruised to victory in the Kansas caucuses demonstrating his strength among conservative voters, while front-runner Mitt Romney won Wyoming ahead of the crucial primaries in the Southern states of Alabama and Mississippi.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Santorum received 51 per cent of the votes, according to a Kansas Republican Party initial count. Romney was second with 21 per cent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 14 per cent and Ron Paul at 13 per cent.

Santorum`s victory in Kansas came on the heels of his three victories on Super Tuesday. His campaign said tea party loyalists and conservatives continue to rally around him. To bag the Republican presidential nomination, the candidate needs to have 1,144 delegates, who are elected from various states where elections are currently being held.

With 446 delegates, former Massachusetts Governor Romney has the largest number and analysts consider him to be closest to getting the nomination to challenge incumbent Barack Obama in the November presidential elections. Santorum has 199 delegates, while Gingrich so far has 117 and Ron Paul has 61.

53-year-old Santorum`s win in Kansas gave a modest boost to his effort to challenge Romney. "We`ve had a very, very good day," Santorum said in Missouri. "I kept saying, `You just stick with us, you go out and vote for your values and trust what you know… Because you don`t live in New York City. You don`t live in Los Angeles. You live like most Americans in between those two cities and you know the values you believe in," he said.

64-year-old Romney won the Wyoming primary with 46.4 per cent of the votes, while Santorum got 29.4 per cent. Romney also cornered 18 delegates with wins in Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. This was in addition to seven delegates in the US Virgin Islands.