2012 ELECTION

Kansas, Wyoming hold caucuses Saturday

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Mitt Romney and his Republican presidential rivals competed Saturday in caucuses in Kansas and Wyoming, the latest contests in a grinding campaign for the nomination to oppose President Barack Obama in the fall.

A total of 52 delegates to the Republican National Convention are at stake, 40 in Kansas and a dozen in Wyoming.

Romney, the front-runner by far in the delegate competition, padded his lead overnight when he won all nine delegates on the island of Guam and an equal number in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Romney showed strength in Wyoming counties that picked delegates earlier in the week, but did not campaign in Kansas.

Rick Santorum and Ron Paul both eyed Kansas and campaigned there in the days leading to the caucuses.

Newt Gingrich cancelled a scheduled trip to Kansas late in the week to concentrate on a pair of primaries next Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi.

Romney began the day with 440 delegates in the AP's count, more than all his rivals combined.

Santorum had 181, Gingrich 107 and Paul had 46. A candidate must win 1,144 to clinch the Republican presidential nomination at the national convention in Tampa next August.

The Virgin Islands also had weekend caucuses. In sparsely populated Wyoming, there were 15 county conventions during the day to pick six convention delegates.

Another six were chosen earlier, with Romney winning 4, Paul one and one uncommitted.

Kansas drew more attention from the White House hopefuls, but not much more, given its position midway between Super Tuesday and potentially pivotal primaries next Tuesday in Mississippi and Alabama.

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