WASHINGTON — Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum picked up at least nine convention delegates by winning Louisiana's Republican presidential primary Saturday.
Santorum's haul was limited by Louisiana's rules for awarding delegates. The state has a total of 46 delegates to the party's national convention, but only 20 were at stake in the primary, and they were awarded in proportion to the statewide vote. Candidates had to get more than 25 percent of the vote to qualify.
An additional 23 delegates will be selected at the Louisiana state GOP convention in June. The final three delegates are Louisiana's members of the Republican National Committee.
With 84 percent of precincts reporting, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was getting 26 percent of the vote. If Romney's share of the vote stays above 25 percent, he would get at least five delegates, but it was still too close to call.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul were well below the threshold, meaning they will be shut out of delegates. If delegates are left over, they will be designated as uncommitted, meaning candidates will have to compete for them at the state GOP convention.
Mitt Romney leads the overall race for delegates with 563, followed by Santorum with 272, Gingrich with 135 and Ron Paul with 50. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination to take on President Barack Obama.
So far, Romney has won 54 percent of the delegates at stake in primaries and caucuses, putting him on track to clinch the nomination in June.
Santorum has won just 27 percent of the primary and caucus delegates – he would need 74 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the national convention in August. Gingrich would need 85 percent.