With 11% of polling places reporting in Maryland, Romney had 52% of the vote. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania had 28%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 11% and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had 8%.
Pre-primary polls predicted Maryland and D.C. were safely in Romney's hands, and the Wisconsin race -- where pre-Tuesday polls showed Romney with a single-digit lead over Santorum -- might be Santorum's final chance to slow Romney's march toward the GOP nomination.
As in previous contests, Wisconsin's early exit polls show Romney doing better among higher-earners and Santorum better with lower-income voters. Among exit-poll takers making $100,000 to $200,000 annually, Romney led 55%-30%, with Santorum winning the under-$30,000 voters, 44%-34%.
The Wisconsin exit polls show Santorum is more popular in rural areas and Romney in urban areas in Wisconsin. According to the exit polls, Santorum is winning the rural vote, 37%-27%, and Romney is winning big-city voters, 43%-23%.
The Washington Post has also projected that Romney will carry Wisconsin.
Mitt Romney has won all three of Tuesday’s Republican primaries, according to exit polls and early results--a sweep of Wisconsin, Maryland and the District that moves Romney closer to ending the GOP nominating contest.
All three wins were expected. Maryland and the District traditionally choose moderate Republicans over social conservatives like Romney’s rival, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. In Wisconsin, Romney had initially trailed, but then roared back to overtake Santorum with the help of heavy advertising and key endorsements from Republican leaders.
Santorum, addressing supporters in Mars, Pa., said he would continue in the race--looking ahead to the primary in his home state on April 24. “Pennsylvania and half the other people in this country have yet to be heard. And we’re going to go out and campaign across this nation to make sure their voices are heard.”
Santorum made a familiar pitch: that Romney is too moderate to succeed as a Republican nominee, saying it was a tactic the party had tried against previous Democratic incumbents. It never worked, he said.