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 – the last big night of primaries until April.

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.

Romney did not go home empty handed, clinching a victory in the Hawaii caucuses by a wide margin. He took home 45 percent of the vote, with over 80 percent of precincts reporting. Santorum trailed with 25 percent.

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.

The results leave the candidates competing one state at a time for delegates, with no multi-state primary nights on tap until April.

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