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Romney edges Santorum by just eight votes in Iowa

By SUSAN WALKER
Capitol Hill Blue Political Writer
January 4, 2012

Romney and family celebrate in Iowa (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Iowa’s caucus system often provides surprises and delivered another in spades Tuesday with a close Republican primary contest that wasn’t decided until the last votes were counted in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum surged at exactly the right time for his struggling campaign, coming within eight votes of knocking off former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Romney’s win sends him to next week’s New Hampshire primary as the candidate to beat but Santroum’s emergence as the choice for GOP conservatives sets up a possible crucial showdown in South Carolina later this month.

“Santorum’s showing reshapes the race,” GOP political activist Lawrence Akins told Capitol Hill Blue. “He becomes the latest alternative to Romney.”

Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished third, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich fourth, Texas Gov. Rick Perry fifth, Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann sixth amd former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman seventh with just one percent of the vote.

Romney and Santorum each finished with 25 percent of the vote and 11 delegates.  Santorum’s 30,007 votes fell just eight votes short of Romney’s.  Paul, with 21 percent and 26,217 votes, nabbed three delegates.  Gingrich was far back with 16,251 votes and 13 percent and Perry with 12,604 votes and 10 percent.

A bitter Gingrich praised Santorum and promised to stay in the race.  Perry told supporters he would head back to Texas today to “assess” his campaign.  He is expected to pull out.

Bachmann, whose 6,073 votes gave her just five percent, is also claiming she will stay in the race.

A month ago, polls showed the race belonging to Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Romney, who lost Iowa to Mike Huckabee in 2008, wasn’t expected to win but stormed the state over the final week.

Critics say Romney didn’t pick up any strength over his 2008 place finish where he also collected 25 percent but with more candidates in the race this year the outcome was more split.

Former Congressman and MSNBC talk show host Chuck Scarborough dismissed the critics.

“A win is a win is a win,” Scarborough said Wednesday morning. “Mitt Romney won Iowa.”

Exit polls show evangelicals — a driving force in Iowa GOP politics but not a deciding factor on the national scale — delivered the surge for Santorum.  Many defected from Paul, whose fade to third clearly disappointed his enthusiastic followers although his campaign tried to spin the third place as a win.  They noted that 2008’s eventual nominee John McCain also finished third in Iowa.

But other political watchers wonder if Santorum might not be this season’s McCain.

“South Carolina will determine that,” Akins said.

 

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4 Responses to Romney edges Santorum by just eight votes in Iowa

  1. Hal Brown

    January 4, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Of course the real winner is Rick Santorum. I decided to try to wrap my mind around the idea of President Santorum, especially it both houses of Congress go Republican.

    I tried to Google Rick Santorum to read more about his views but every official page of his website I clicked led me to a donation page. In order to bypass that you had to click another link “support.santorum”.

    Of course our well read readers already know that a Google search will also lead to lots of sites posted to describe a coined definition of “santorum”.

    I have to hand it to our homosexual community for achieving the major Google coup since Santorum has views of homosexuality are more disgusting to contemplate than santorum. It does make for some good humor. Jon Stewart just did a bit with a box of chocolates representing the Republican candidates. He opened one that had some unidentifiable gook on it and he said “oh look, it has some santorum on it”.

    For example this is from a 2005 A.P. interview which you can find on Google. After picking on homosexuality by saying he doesn’t mind people being homosexual as long as they don’t have sex here’s what he says:

    Santorum: That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

    AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.

    I really like the response of the interviewer, and the fact that it was published

    There’s an informative website call santorumexposed – to find a link to the above quoted USA article add /?133 after the dot com an that site.

  2. Watchman

    January 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Romney’s sons look like his clones. How cute.

    Rick S. will find that the audience for gay-bashing is limited. It comes across as petty.

  3. Jon`

    January 5, 2012 at 2:47 am

    This shows, actually, a major problem with ‘winner take all’ elections. Effectively, that’s a tie. To represent the will of the people, both voices should be heard. But due to a quirk of a voting machine somewhere, half the population (or more) is completely disenfranchised.

    And we wonder why some people just give up on voting entirely.

    Oh, and hi Hal. Would you consider writing columns again? I miss the view from the cranberry bog. :)

    J.

  4. Sandune

    January 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I too would love to see you back here in the Home Page too! I’m too controversial to ever return but you were a real asset to CHB. I will, however reply appropriately to your words.