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Three-State Sweep Revives Santorum's White House Hopes

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has won votes in the states of Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri in the race to become the Republican Party's nominee to face President Barack Obama in the November U.S. election.

The victories by the socially conservative Santorum have slowed the momentum of front-runner Mitt Romney, who had earlier won contests in Nevada, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Romney, a former governor of the state of Massachusetts who won the primaries in both Colorado and Minnesota during his failed bid for the nomination in 2008, congratulated Santorum but said the race is not over.

Romney remains the candidate supported by most of the Republican Party establishment, and his campaign is considered the best organized and best funded.

The former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich -- who, like Santorum, has sought to position himself as a genuinely conservative alternative to Obama -- came in fourth in Minnesota, third in Colorado, and was not on the ballot in Missouri.

Gingrich's only previous win this year was in the state of South Carolina.

Another candidate, Texas congressman Ron Paul, was second in Minnesota, fourth in Colorado, and third in Missouri.

Santorum's wins on February 7 gave him at least 28 delegates to the Republican Party nominating convention -- moving him into second place behind Romney and ahead of Gingrich.

The next major contests in the race will come in Michigan and Arizona on February 28. On March 6, so-called Super Tuesday, 416 delegates will be up for grabs as 10 states hold primaries.

Compiled from agency reports