Santorum Wins Kansas Caucus

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won Kansas' Republican caucuses Saturday. Neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich spent any time campaigning in the state. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Rachel Martin is away.

In the Republican race for president, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won a commanding victory in yesterday's Kansas caucuses. Initial estimate shows he got most of the state's 40 delegates. In a moment, we'll hear more about the candidate's appeal in the deep South ahead of Tuesday's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.

But first, Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda was at a caucus site in eastern Kansas, and has this report on how the process played out.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK, Doc. How you doing there?

DOC: Good evening and how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All right.

DOC: Register in the back of the gym.

STEPHEN KORANDA, BYLINE: Volunteers ushered voters into Free State High School in Lawrence, Kansas.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Howdy. How about a picture ID, sir?

KORANDA: After all the ballots had been counted, Rick Santorum won with more than 50 percent of the vote statewide. He was expected to have a strong showing in Kansas, known as a socially conservative state.

KIM GREEN: Well, he's just most closely aligned with my personal beliefs.

KORANDA: That's Kim Green from Lawrence. She went with Santorum because she agrees with him on the big issues.

K. GREEN: Social, economic, everything. So I think he's just - seems like a good person and a smart guy, and the one I'd like to see win.

KORANDA: But the Green home is a house divided. Kim's husband Brian made a different choice.

BRIAN GREEN: Mitt Romney, because of his business background.

KORANDA: Brian said social issues are important, but economic issues are at the top for him.

B. GREEN: You know, job creation is important. Reducing the deficit so that the - so that all my kids here will have the opportunity to be successful in life, and that, you know, that the country will be healthy when I get ready to retire.

KORANDA: Romney came in second place statewide, with 21 percent of the vote. Neither Newt Gingrich nor Ron Paul qualified for any delegates in Kansas. Mitt Romney had just enough votes to walk away with the state's remaining seven delegates.

For NPR News, I'm Stephen Koranda in Lawrence, Kansas.

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