WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Mitt Romney rolled to easy wins in presidential primaries in Connecticut and Rhode Island on Tuesday, NBC News projected, moving closer to the delegates needed to clinch the nomination as he shifted his focus to the general election battle with President Barack Obama.
The two states were among five holding Republican primaries on Tuesday, and Romney was expected to score easy victories in all of them. Also voting are Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania, but results were not available yet in those states.
Romney was expected to claim victory in the Republican race later in the evening during a speech in New Hampshire. He essentially won the nomination on April 10 when his top rival, Rick Santorum, suspended his campaign.
The five states voting on Tuesday have a combined 231 delegates, and the wins will move him closer to the 1,144 needed to formally clinch the nomination. Romney entered Tuesday's primaries with 695 delegates, according to a CNN count.
Romney is expected to formally hit that number and clinch the nomination sometime in late May.
(Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Eric Walsh)