RICHMOND, Va. -- As Newt Gingrich scored a victory on his home turf of Georgia, Mitt Romney countered, easily locking down a landslide victory in Virginia's low-turnout primary Tuesday, scooping up another 46 delegates in his quest to become the Republican presidential nominee.
The Associated Press called the statewide Republican presidential primary for the former Massachusetts governor about 30 minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m. With one-fifth of the vote counted, Romney had nearly 59 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Paul, the AP reported.
Virginians only had Mitt Romney, heavily favored to win beforehand, and Ron Paul to choose from, a factor many experts blame for the low turnout. While Paul has a small dedicated following in the Old Dominion, it was no match against Romney's powerful presence in the state.
Virginia's 46 delegates are at stake, plus another three delegates assigned by the GOP internally. Based on his strong performance in the state, Romney is expected to collect all of Virginia's delegates.
Earlier at the polls, some voters expressed their support for Romney, saying he was the best candidate to face off against President Barack Obama in November. "We need a successful president right now, and I think Mitt Romney is the best choice," said Richmond, Va. resident Jack Burtch, who voted for Obama in 2008, but is now rejoining the Republican fold. "I'm not against [Obama], I'm just disappointed."
Despite Romney's sweeping victory in Virginia, some residents still have their reservations. "He's a nice man, he's an honest man, he just doesn't hold my beliefs," said Rockville, Va. resident Tom Shreve, 52, who voted for Ron Paul.
Romney also picked up wins in Vermont and Massachusetts, adding more delegates to his Super Tuesday haul.