Rick Santorum came up with big wins Tuesday night in Mississippi and Alabama. Newt Gingrich barely took second place in each of those contests but Mitt Romney managed a victory in Hawaii and American Samoa also on Tuesday. Due to Mississippi and Alabama dividing delegates under a proportional system, Santorum won’t claim them all but he can take the first place vote total.

Results for Alabama Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Mar 13, 2012 (98% of precincts reporting)
Rick Santorum 212,343 34.5%
Newt Gingrich 179,919 29.3%
Mitt Romney 178,601 29%
Ron Paul 30,494 5%
Other 13,583 2.2%
Results for Mississippi Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Mar 13, 2012 (99% of precincts reporting)
Rick Santorum 93,182 32.9%
Newt Gingrich 88,676 31.3%
Mitt Romney 85,922 30.3%
Ron Paul 12,498 4.4%
Other 3,037 1.1%
Results for Hawaii Republican Caucus (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Mar 13, 2012 (100% of precincts reporting)
Mitt Romney 4,250 45.4%
Rick Santorum 2,369 25.3%
Ron Paul 1,712 18.3%
Newt Gingrich 1,034 11%
Other 0 0%

Report from Fox News:

Rick Santorum ensured that the Republican nominating battle will drag on, possibly into the spring and beyond, after pulling off a pair of victories in the Deep South on Tuesday — as the presidential primary race passes the midway mark.

The former Pennsylvania senator edged out his opponents in both Mississippi and Alabama, allowing him to build the case that he is the “conservative” alternative to Mitt Romney over Newt Gingrich.

But even with two surprise wins, Santorum didn’t walk away with a surge in delegates. As of Wednesday morning, Romney had 495 delegates to Santorum’s 252. That’s up from 454 and 217 before Tuesday’s votes. Gingrich now stands with 131 delegates and Ron Paul with 48.

Romney did not go home empty handed because the states divide their delegates proportionally and he clinched a victory in the Hawaii caucuses by a wide margin. He took home 45 percent of the vote 52 percent of that state’s delegates while Santorum trailed with 25 percent of the vote and 23 percent of the delegates.

Romney also won the small Republican caucus in American Samoa. He picked up all nine delegates in the contest in the U.S. territory located 2,300 miles south of Hawaii.

With no multi-state primary nights on tap until April 3 — when D.C., Maryland and Wisconsin vote — for the rest of the month the candidates will be competing for delegates one state or territory at a time in Missouri, Puerto Rico, Illinois and Louisiana.

Certainly Santorum taking the “Southern” Super Tuesday primary will embolden his campaign and lend some credibility to his argument in continuing the race. Gingrich didn’t outright win but he did finish ahead of Romney in both contests which also gives him a leg, albeit wobbly, to stand on. Ron Paul will gain at least 1 delegate from the Hawaii caucus.