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Pa. Could Be Key In GOP Race After Super Tuesday

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Voters in 10 states chose their candidate for the Republican nomination for president on Super Tuesday, but the contest is far from over.

The battle just might end up in Pennsylvania on April 24 when the state has its presidential primary.

Four years ago, the Pennsylvania primary was a key battleground between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- could it be such a battleground for Republicans this year?

Allegheny County Republican Councilwoman at-large Heather Heidelbaugh told KDKA Politics Editor Jon Delano she thinks Super Tuesday won't end the Republican nomination battle.

"Finally, finally, Pennsylvania will be a player," she says. "Here we are. We're going into April and we probably won't -- we're not going to have a nominee, and our primary might be very important."

Even if Mitt Romney does well against Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul on Super Tuesday -- and he may or may not -- it's all in the numbers.

It takes 1,144 delegates to win the nomination. So far, only 330 delegates have been chosen with another 419 picked today. After Super Tuesday, 1,537 delegates – two-thirds of the delegates -- still remain to be selected.

Even if Romney won every delegate on Super Tuesday – and he won't – he is still far short of clinching the nod. But University of Pittsburgh Professor Chris Bonneau thinks it may be hard to overtake Romney by the April 24th Pennsylvania.

"It may be effectively over, depending on how Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum perform, relative to Mitt Romney," Bonneau says.

There are 13 primaries or caucuses between Super Tuesday and April 24th with 361 delegates at stake during that period. It's not enough to make a winner, but maybe enough to confirm Romney's front-runner status.

"Pennsylvania has their primary so late. If Pennsylvania wants to be a player, move it up," he says.

Every four years, people say move the primary earlier, but it never happens.

This year, Pennsylvania holds its primary the same day as New York and three other states -- making it the most delegate-rich primary day after Super Tuesday.

With no candidate likely to hit the major number before May or June, Republicans in this state just might get a vote that counts.

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