Mitt Romney is working to seal his status as the Republican presidential front-runner with a thus-far-elusive victory in the Deep South.
Closely fought primaries in Alabama and Louisiana offer the former Massachusetts governor a key opportunity in a region that has been slow to embrace him. Today's primaries are also poised to render a possible final verdict on Newt Gingrich's Southern-focused candidacy.
With polls showing an unexpectedly tight race in the conservative bellwether states, Romney made a campaign appearance Monday in Alabama -- a clear indication that he was eyeing a potential win there.
Rick Santorum, who has angled to campaign head-to-head with Romney, is pressing the case again that Gingrich should consider stepping aside. He plans to watch returns from Louisiana, which holds its primary later this month.
Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.