Mitt Romney scored a hard-won, home state triumph in Michigan and powered to victory in Arizona Tuesday night, gaining a two-state primary sweep over Rick Santorum and precious momentum in the most turbulent Republican presidential race in a generation.

Two other candidates, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, made little effort in either state, pointing instead to next week's 10-state collection of Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses.

Romney's Arizona triumph came in a race that was scarcely contested, and he pocketed all of the 29 Republican National Convention delegates at stake in the winner-take-all state.

Michigan was as different as could be -- a hard-fought and expensive battle in Romney's home state that he could ill afford to lose and Santorum made every effort to win.

Returns from 88 percent of Michigan's precincts showed Romney at 41 percent and Santorum at 38 percent. Paul was winning 12 percent of the vote to 7 percent for Gingrich.

Santorum tells supporters not to give up hope

Rick Santorum is ignoring a pair of primary losses to rival Mitt Romney in Michigan and Arizona and saying he will continue his presidential bid pushing an economic message.

Santorum is telling supporters that a month ago, in his words, "they didn't know who we are, but they do now."
Santorum got distracted from his appeal to working-class voters in recent weeks but sought to refocus during his primary night speech Tuesday.

He kept his message on his manufacturing plan, which gave him an early lead in Michigan polls. That lead later collapsed as he was dogged by questions on contraception and women's rights.

In his remarks, Santorum made a point to cite his 93-year-old mother, who earned a graduate degree and earned more money than his father.

Romney again does well among voters with economy on their mind

In both Michigan and Arizona, voters have listed the economy as the dominant issue on their minds -- as it
has been in every state to vote so far.

And according to the exit polls, Mitt Romney was the decisive choice among people who named the economy as their chief concern.

He's had that edge among those voters in every state so far except South Carolina.
Exit polls in Michigan found Romney faring well today with party loyalists and with more moderate voters.

As for Rick Santorum, he drew strength from the most ardent conservatives, and from people whose political views are strongly colored by their religious beliefs.

About 1 in 10 voters in Michigan said they were Democrats, and they were backing Santorum by a margin of about 3-1.

Romney has criticized Santorum for using automated phone calls to try to get Democrats to vote against Romney in Michigan -- a state in which the rules allow non-Republicans to vote.

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