Maryann Tobin

Rick Santorum blew through the South like a brisk wind, sweeping to victories in both Alabama and Mississippi in Tuesday's GOP primary races.

Both races were too close to call for much of the night, but in the end, Mitt Romney ended up coming in third in both contests for the GOP presidential nominee crown.

Santorum finished the night with 34.5% of the vote in Alabama, with Newt Gingrich a close second with 29.3%. Mitt Romney ran behind Gingrich with 29%.

In Mississippi, Santorum claimed 32.9% of the votes. Once again, Gingrich with 31.3%, edged out Romney who only took 30.3% of the tally.

Santorum picked up 13 of the 1,144 delegates needed to take the GOP nomination. Gingrich and Romney won 12 for their efforts in Mississippi.

In Alabama, Santorum gained 16 delegates to Gingrich's 12 and Romney's 10.

Ron Paul got 5% of the Alabama vote but did not win any delegates. Paul took 4.4% in Mississippi, but still claimed no delegates for the state.

Taking Mississippi and Alabama is still not enough for the ultra-conservative Santorum to prove that he can beat President Obama in November. And many on both sides of the aisle still believe that Santorum is too far to the right to win a national presidential election.

In recent days, Santorum has been shunned by women voters who object to his antiquated views on women's rights, including birth control and unmarried sex.

Women are the single largest voting bloc in America, and no contemporary president has won an election without their support.

Source: USA Today