Rick Santorum on Tuesday won primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, ensuring that the GOP nominating contest will extend into late spring and possibly beyond.

Speaking to supporters in Lafayette, Santorum suggested the momentum was on his side.

“People have said, 'You know you're being outspent.' And everybody is talking about all the math and all the things ... that this race is inevitable. Well for someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me for being inevitable.”

Santorum, however, lost to Romney in the delegate count, adding 35 delegates to Romney's 41. Romney now has 495 delegates to Santorum's 252. Newt Gingrich, who came in second in Alabama and Mississippi, has 131 and Ron Paul 48.

Romney's increased delegate count was due to a wide-margin win in the Hawaii caucuses, and the fact that states divide their delegates proportionally.

“Tuesday's results actually increased Governor Romney's delegate lead, while his opponents only moved closer to their date of mathematical elimination,” Romney political director Rich Beeson wrote in a memo. “The math is simple … Santorum and Gingrich now trail Governor Romney by margins they cannot mathematically make up. … In order to win, both Santorum and Gingrich need to start netting an impossible number of delegates to overtake Governor Romney.”

With 24 contests left to go, Santorum wasn't ceding any ground: “We will compete everywhere. The time is now for conservatives to pull together.”

Talking to supporters in Alabama, Gingrich remained defiant.

“One of the things tonight proved is that the elite media's effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed,” he said. “The fact is in both states, the conservative candidates got nearly 70 percent of the vote. And … if you're the front-runner and you keep coming in third, you're not much of a front-runner.”