As Republicans head to the polls in three states for the latest iteration in the presidential primary, Mitt Romney is banking his delegates on a methodical push to the top. And he says he’s not buying the hype he can’t wrap up the deal even as his rivals try to set up roadblocks.

“We’re closing the deal, state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate,” Romney said Monday, noting that he has two and a half times as many delegates as Rick Santorum and an even wider lead over Newt Gingrich.

Three states — Mississippi, Alabama and Hawaii — vote on Tuesday, offering a collective 101 delegates to the candidates on their path to 1,144 — the magic number needed to win the nomination.

So far, Romney is keeping a wide lead overall — garnering 454 delegates, nearly 40 percent of the total he needs to secure the nomination. That’s compared to 217 delegates for Santorum, 107 for Gingrich and 47 for Ron Paul, according to The Associated Press tally used by most news agencies.

With 2,286 total delegates, Romney would need about 48 percent of the remaining vote to secure the nomination. That compares to Santorum, who would need about 63 percent of the vote while Gingrich would have to collect 71 percent of the remainder to get the nomination.

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