Mitt Romney wins Iowa Caucus by eight votes over surging Rick Santorum

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Note — January 22, 2012
A recount later concluded Santorum had received more votes in the caucus;
see U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary, January 22, 2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mitt Romney speaks on the eve of the Iowa Caucus.
Image: Iowa Politics.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Republican Party's Iowa Caucus Tuesday by a total of eight votes over former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. According to ABC News, a record 123,000 people voted in the caucus with 30,015 for Romney and 30,007 for Santorum. Congressman Ron Paul of Texas finished in third place with 26,219 votes.

The results were a surprise for Santorum, who was as low as four percent in the Iowa American Research Group poll just a few weeks ago. However, analysts say his old-fashioned politicking in every Iowa county accounted for the surge in polling just days before the vote. His socially conservative message was well-received in the highly evangelical state. Santorum later described the situation as a "rather close race" in a speech that touched on his working-class roots.

Romney, whose supporters launched an expensive advertising campaign in Iowa, personally began to extensively campaign in the state just a few weeks ahead of the caucus. In his victory speech, he attacked president Barack Obama, saying "we are here to collect" on a statement the president made in 2009 that he would be a one-term president if the economy did not turn around. Prior to the caucus, Romney had received big name endorsements from such prominent GOP figures as former President George H.W. Bush and 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole. Yesterday, he won the backing of the Republican Party's 2008 presidential nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Rick Santorum joined by his family, addresses supporters after the Iowa Caucus.
Image: Iowa Politics.

Ron Paul, who espouses libertarian views, won a large percentage of those who identify themselves as political independents. In a remark to CNN, he called his third place finish validation that "the message of liberty is appealing to everybody across the board."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas governor Rick Perry, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann finished in fourth, fifth, and sixth place, respectively. After the results came in, Gingrich lauded Santorum, but had tough words for Romney, on whose behalf negative campaign advertisements were aired in Iowa against Gingrich. Perry stated that he would "return to Texas to assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race", but later said that he would remain in the race and compete in the January 21 South Carolina primary. Bachmann, who won the Ames Straw Poll in August, decided to end her campaign.

The campaigns now brace for the New Hampshire Primary on January 10, in which Romney is favored to win, but is expected to face a challenge from former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., Paul, Gingrich and the surging Rick Santorum.


Candidate Votes Percentage Results by County
Mitt Romney 30,015
Image: JaumeBG.

██ Rick Santorum

██ Mitt Romney

██ Ron Paul

██ Rick Perry

Rick Santorum 30,007
Ron Paul 26,219
Newt Gingrich 16,251
Rick Perry 12,604
Michele Bachmann 6,073
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 745
No Preference 135
Herman Cain[1] 58
Buddy Roemer 31
  1. Cain dropped out in December

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