Republican activists foresee a long presidential campaign that almost certainly will nominate Mitt Romney but may leave him weakened in the fall.

Interviews Wednesday with GOP officials and strategists in several states find no panic or calls for Romney to crank up his criticisms of Rick Santorum.

But several people say they worry that continued attacks on Romney may inflict wounds that won't fully heal in time for the November contest with President Barack Obama.

Some GOP officials are urging Santorum and Newt Gingrich to step aside. Others say a long primary won't hurt the party.

Gingrich campaign doubles down on South

Newt Gingrich's poor showing in every Super Tuesday state except Georgia gives him an increasingly narrow path to win the nomination, one that now depends on the South.

The Gingrich campaign has canceled plans to visit Kansas, instead zeroing in on Mississippi and Alabama, which hold primaries next week. The campaign is also looking ahead to Louisiana later this month and Texas after that, putting everything on the line in the South.

The fallout from Super Tuesday leaves Gingrich with little choice.

He finished far behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the other nine states and was in fourth place in five of the races. Santorum's victories in Tennessee and Oklahoma — two states with Republican voters similar to Georgia's — raised doubts about Gingrich's appeal to Southern conservatives.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)