Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took a big step in his quest to secure the GOP nomination with a five-state sweep on Tuesday, including a landslide victory in the Pennsylvania primary.
Romney easily outdistanced his opponents among Pennsylvania Republicans with 58 percent of the vote. Among Bucks County voters, the former Massachusetts governor also won big, securing 27,532 votes for 66.6 percent.
As of midnight, 9,165 out of 9,260 districts (98.97%) were reporting statewide while in Bucks County, 302 of the 304 districts have been counted.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-Pa.) decision to drop out of the race a few weeks ago handed Romney an expected victory in the primary. Despite dropping out of the race on April 10, Santorum was running second statewide with 18.4 percent of the vote. In Bucks County, Ron Paul finished second with 13.4 percent of the vote and Santorum was third at 11.6 percent.
Rounding out the Republican field was Newt Gingrich, who finished fourth in the state and county.
Romney started the day with 698 delegates—about 400 short of the number he needs to formally gain the Republican nomination. There were 209 delegates at stake in Tuesday's five primaries, which also include New York, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Running unopposed, President Barack Obama will represent Democrats as he runs for re-election in the November 2012 election.
U.S. Senate, Statewide Races
Pennsylvania and Bucks County voters also cast ballots for U.S. senator, state attorney general, state auditor general and state treasurer during the primary.
Republican Tom Smith secured the U.S. senate spot on the November 2012 ballot with 39.5 percent of the vote, pushing past four other candidates. Incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, Jr. easily defeated challenger Joseph John Vodvarka.
In one of the few high-profile races in this election cycle, Democrat Kathleen Kane defeated former Bucks County Congressman Patrick Murphy for attorney general with 52.9 percent of the vote. In November, Kane will face off against Republican David Freed, who ran unopposed.
Both Republican and Democratic candidates for state treasurer were unopposed.
Bucks Republicans Block Tea Party Move
Bucks County voters also were asked to choose their party's delegates to their national conventions. Nine Democrats were vying for nine delegate positions, but on the Republican side, 13 candidates were on the ballot for just four positions.
GOP voters will be sending Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo, Bucks County Commissioner Robert G. Loughery, party leader Patricia K. Poprik and State Rep. Bernie O'Neill to represent them at the national convention.
This race was one of the most interesting of the day due to an insurgent challenge from the Doylestown-based Tea Party group, The Kitchen Table Patriots, which backed Daniel McCabe, John Merritt, Anastasia Przybylaski and Ana Puig.
The Bucks County Republicans threw their might - and their money - behind their own team, going so far as to decorate polling places with large posters and sample ballots with their candidates' names highlighted in yellow.
Overall, voter turnout was low in Bucks County, as reported by Patch editors on the ground in , and , probably because Romney was the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. But according to a local official in Newtown Township, the primary election attracted loyal voters who participate in each election despite the stakes.
Voters were asked to show photo ID when voting in the primary election, but still were allowed to vote without one. Come November 2012, the new state voter ID law will require voters to show an acceptable form of current photo identification to vote in the presidential election.