Romney wins in American Samoa

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 1:25 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands during a campaign stop at William Jewell College on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, in Liberty, Mo.

Associated Press

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Mitt Romney won the Republican caucus in American Samoa on Tuesday, picking up the backing of all nine delegates.

Only about 70 Republicans turned out for the caucus, held at Toa Bar & Grill. And that actually was more than expected on the tiny island 2,300 miles south of Hawaii.

Most agreed Romney was the best choice among the four GOP candidates to fix the economy and gives Republicans the most hope of defeating President Barack Obama.

"We need someone from outside of Washington and Romney is that man," said Su'a Carl Schuster.

Schuster was among six delegates chosen by caucus attendees to travel to the Republican National Convention in August. Three other "superdelegates" from American Samoa also will go.

All nine pledged their support to Romney.

"I believe Romney can fix the U.S. economy that extends to American Samoa. He can turn this country around," said Falemao M. Pili, vice chairman of the local GOP and a delegate.

The victory, small as it was, was welcome news for Romney, who saw his closest rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, win primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday.

Only registered Republicans could vote in the American Samoa caucus, and that's why so few attended. It's rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don't run on party lines.

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 there are U.S. citizens but are not allowed to vote in presidential elections.

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