Santorum Bests Romney in Three-State Sweep

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It's being called a "Santorum Sweep." Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum scored three huge wins in the race for the Republican nomination Tuesday, dominating the races in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I don't stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama," Santorum told supporters during his victory speech.

Tuesday's results raise fresh questions about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's ability to win conservatives.

Minnesota voter Helen Buys talked about why she supported Santorum.

"His values and his view of government, lower spending and just his social conservatism is really important to me," she said.

According to Quin Hillyer, senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom, Santorum "wears well over time."

"He's not one of these guys with lots of flash and sizzle," Hillyer told CBN News. "But he's a sincere, consistent conservative and people pick up on his sincerity and his consistency and then ends up doing better than pundits expect."

Romney graciously extended his congratulations to Santorum for his three-state victory.

"This was a good night for Rick Santorum. I want to congratulate Senator Santorum, wish him the very best," Romney said.

"We'll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become our nominee with your help," he added.

Santorum's sweep is also a blow to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who wants to paint himself as the chief alternative to Romney.

Romney performed much worse in all three states than he did four years ago. In 2008, Romney won 60 percent of the vote in Colorado and grabbed Minnesota by 18 points.

He's hoping for better results later this month in the Arizona and Michigan primaries.