With former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) winning primary races in the Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia early in the evening, by 9 p.m., his three wins put him in the lead for the Super Tuesday night, a day when he was likely to take the most delegates.
Tennessee and Oklahoma primaries went to former Pennsylania Sen. Rick Santorum (R), while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) only won his home state of Georgia. The Tennessee race was talked about as a possible way for Romney to cut off Santorum's continued challenge, but Santorum ended up taking the state handily.
The Ohio primary, seen as the key race of the night, was too close to call an hour and a half after the polls closed in the Buckeye state at 7:30 p.m., with Santorum with a slight lead.
The remaining three contests -- Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota cacuses -- remain ongoing.
UPDATE @ 10:45P: Santorum is projected to win the North Dakota caucuses. Ohio is still too close to call, with more than 80 percent of the vote reporting -- but Santorum's lead is tightening.
UPDATE @ 11P: For the first time in the night, Romney takes the lead in Ohio vote count. Idaho is counting, and Alaska caucuses close at midnight Eastern Time.
UPDATE @ 11:15P: Romney, per CNN, also took the Idaho caucus.
UPDATE @ 12:30A MARCH 7: The Associated Press calls Ohio for Romney.
In a statement about the night's results, GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia said, "Tonight, Governor Mitt Romney has won the lion’s share of delegates at stake. This is a big night for Governor Romney and all but guarantees that Romney will be the eventual nominee of the Republican Party."
He continued: "Obviously this process is technically not over. Despite the large delegate lead enjoyed by Governor Romney, other candidates in the field have made it clear that they intend to continue on. The question that Republicans, and conservatives in particular, must begin to ask themselves is whether continuing this process is in the best interest of our movement, the party and -- most importantly -- our country."
Jerame Davis, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, countered in a statement, saying, "As the results from the Super Tuesday elections continue to roll in, one thing is certain: While Republican voters are indecisively trying to choose between the worst of candidates, Democrats can rest assured that they are the big winners again tonight.
"With a field of nincompoops and homophobes running on the GOP ticket, President Obama clearly will be the best candidate on the ballot in November," Davis continued. "His commitment to equality -- LGBT and otherwise -- has been obvious throughout his first term in office, but there's plenty of work left to do that only an Obama White House will accomplish."
LaSalvia, however, said, "President Obama has made it clear that he plans on doubling down on his failed policies. Obama and the left are fanning the flames of the culture wars in an attempt to distract Americans from the abject failure of this President to create jobs and grow our economy. To focus on the issues that Americans most care about and to defeat Obama we will need unity in the conservative movement and in the Republican Party and that unity must come soon."