Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential caucuses in Hawaii, salvaging a much-needed victory after resurgent rival Rick Santorum won primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday.
Romney finished a disappointing third behind Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the Deep South primaries. But he came back to edge out both rivals in Hawaii and added a sweep of delegates from Republican nominating caucuses in American Samoa.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished fourth in both Southern primaries, and third in the Hawaii caucuses.
Romney got nine delegates in American Samoa.
About 70 Republicans in the U.S. territory 2,300 miles south of Hawaii met in caucus Tuesday. The six delegates selected at the meeting and three superdelegates to the Republican National Convention all said they would support Romney.
Falemao M. Pili, vice chairman of the local Republican Party and a delegate, said he believes Romney can fix the U.S. economy that extends to American Samoa. He says Romney can "turn this country around."
Last weekend, Romney captured all 18 delegates at caucuses in two other U.S. possessions in the Pacific -- Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Like American Samoa, residents of those islands are U.S. citizens but are not allowed to vote in the presidential election.
© AFP 2013