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Room for Romney to Improve in Virginia

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Mitt Romney carried northern Virginia and the rest of the state in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary. News4's Julie Carey breaks down the results.

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Mitt Romney easily won Virginia’s two-person Republican party with 59 percent of the vote, but it didn’t turn out to be a winner-take-all victory for the GOP front-runner.

He’ll have to share three of Virginia’s 46 delegates with Ron Paul, who captured the 3rd Congressional District.

Turnout was extremely low. Just 5.6 percent of active Virginia voters went to the polls. Many Republicans decided to stay home, frustrated that the other GOP contenders -– Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich -– weren’t on the ballot, unable to meet Virginia’s tough ballot access requirements. Fairfax County Republican Ana Navarro said because her Presidential choice, Romney,  was on the ballot she went to the polls while her Santorum-supporting husband decided to sit this one out.

“My candidate is on the ballot but my husband is the perfect example of someone who is not voting today because his candidate is not on the ballot, but he has promised me he’s coming in November for the general,” she said.

Even though the Virginia results were of little importance compared to some other Super Tuesday states, the commonwealth will again be a key battleground in the fall. Looking ahead, the Virginia totals brought mostly good news to the Romney campaign, but they also reveal some weaknesses if he becomes the nominee and faces off against President Barack Obama. Romney did well in the key, big-three northern Virginia counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, winning more than 60% of the vote in those areas.

Said Fairfax County voter Matt Clark who recently shifted his allegiance from Paul to Romney, “He’s the least extreme and he’s the only person who can oppose Obama.”

But in a few pockets, Ron Paul clobbered Romney.  One Fairfax County party leader said if Romney wins the nomination, he’ll need to find a way to bring those conservative, independent-minded Paul supporters into the fold if he hopes to win Virginia in November.

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