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The Southern faceoff: Santorum leads in Alabama, vies with Romney and Gingrich in Mississippi
WASHINGTON (AP) ' Rick Santorum grabbed an early lead in Alabama on Tuesday and battled Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in Mississippi, deeply conservative Southern crossroads in the struggle for the Republican presidential nomination.
Caucuses in Hawaii were also on the calendar in the race to pick an opponent to President Barack Obama this fall.
There were 107 Republican National Convention delegates at stake, 47 in Alabama, 37 in Mississippi, 17 in Hawaii and six more in caucuses in American Samoa.
Returns from the first 13 percent of Mississippi's precincts showed Santorum with 33 percent and Romney and Gingrich tied with 30 percent.
The first 4 percent of Alabama's precincts favored Santorum, who was pulling 34 percent of the vote. Gingrich had 29 percent and Romney 28 percent.