Santorum proves conservative mettle with Okla. win

March 7, 2012 3:29:08 AM PST
Rick Santorum proved his strength among conservative voters with Super Tuesday victories in Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota, though whoever emerges as the GOP nominee is almost assured Oklahoma's seven electoral votes in November.

President Barack Obama's chances of winning the deeply conservative state in November were already poor. But Obama lost 15 counties to an anti-abortion crusader from West Virginia and a perennial candidate from Midwest City.

The message from Santorum, who visited the state twice in recent weeks, clearly resonated with Christian conservatives, a key component of the state's Republican voters.

Santorum can also boast of winning the "reddest of the red" states, where Obama failed to win any of its 77 counties in 2008.