From staff reports
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was the favorite candidate for the Republican nomination to run against President Barack Obama in November, according to primary election results in Marshall County and across Tennessee.
Meanwhile, Super Tuesday has not dubbed any of the GOP candidates as a runaway favorite emerging from a pack of four top contenders for the Republican nomination. Santorum also won in Oklahoma and North Dakota. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won in Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia.
However, Romney's victory in Virginia was troubling. Congressman Ron Paul received 41 percent of the Virginia vote where he was the only other candidate on the ballot.
Santorum's support in Tennessee was not a surprise to many. Statewide polls predicted he'd win Tennessee, as did a straw poll conducted by the Marshall County Republican Party.
Santorum's platform of social and religious issues attracted conservative voters. However, Marshall County Elections Administrator Tristan Arnold has noted Tennessee's open primary allows crossover voting, a practice revealed in an Associated Press report Wednesday.
Wayne Renardson, a retired jazz musician in Nashville, was quoted as saying he thinks Obama "is the best of the bunch," but he voted for Santorum in the GOP primary "because he's the easiest to beat."
Marshall County results show: Santorum received 958 votes or 41 percent of the 2,338 ballots cast in the GOP primary; Gingrich received 582 votes, or 25 percent of the ballots in the party primary; Romney came in as a close third place finisher here with 552 votes, or 23.6 percent; and Paul trailed with 222 votes, or 9.5 percent of the GOP ballots.
The Marshall County GOP straw poll on Feb. 21 showed Santorum getting 16 hands raised out of a total of 24 people participating. The other three received: 6 for Romney; two for Paul; and none for Gingrich.
Alphabetically, here are the county results as provided by Arnold: Michelle Bachman, 4; Newt Gingrich, 582; Jon Huntsman, 9; Gary Johnson, 2; Ron Paul, 222; Rick Perry, 5; Charles "Buddy" Roemer, 4; Mitt Romney, 552; Rick Santorum, 958. President Obama received 193 complimentary votes.
County results are to be certified on Tuesday next week.