Global Politics

After hours of delays, Romney earns 8-vote victory over Santorum

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Rick Santorum, far left, and Mitt Romney, fourth from left, took the top two spots in this year's Iowa Caucus. (Photo by Flickr user IowaPolitics.com, cc-by-sa.)

In the end, it might as well be called a tie.

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Technically, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney snuck by Rick Santorum, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, by just eight voters, according to a statement from the Iowa Republican Party. Romney won a see-saw Iowa Caucus on Tuesday night — the first election in the race to become the Republican presidential nominee against President Barack Obama.

Santorum and Romney each wound up with about 25 percent of the vote, 30,015 for Romney to 30,007 for Santorum. Romney and Santorum traded the top line all night. 

The last votes, from Clinton County, were reported before 8 p.m., a county official said on CNN, but the state Republican Party did not have them until after 1 a.m. central time. The final tally was reported just before 1:35 a.m..

See county-by-county results from WNYC.org.

Romney's strongest support came along the east and west side of Iowa, as well as in and around Des Moines. Santorum's support came over the broadest swath of the state, especially in the rural, agricultural parts of the state. The race see-sawed back and forth until the final votes came in.

Romney Edges Santorum in Iowa
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Coming in third was Rep. Ron Paul, who had been expected by many to win the caucuses. Paul had some 21 percent of the vote with the strongest support in counties with college campuses.

Newt Gingrich came in fourth with about 13 percent of the vote, Rick Perry had about 10 percent of the vote and Michelle Bachmann garnered about 5 percent of the vote.

Jon Huntsman, who never really campaigned in Iowa, came in last place with just a small handful of votes.

The Election 2012 campaign shifts to New Hampshire now, where Romney has enjoyed a commanding lead. Now polls released Tuesday night showed Romney maintaining support among about 46 to 47 percent of the voters in New Hampshire. Tuesday night, several news outlets reported that Sen. John McCain will travel to New Hampshire to endorse Romney.

After that is South Carolina, where Gingrich has been leading, though no new polls have been released since mid-December, when Gingrich's support was the strongest. Bachmann said she was immediately heading to South Carolina and bypassing New Hampshire, where she hopes to garner more support.

Campaign pundits expected that at least a couple of candidates would withdrawal after disappointing resutls in Iowa. Perry said with his finish, he was returning to Texas to asses his campaign and determine if he still had a viable path to the presidency. On Wednesday morning, Perry tweeted that his campaign would go on and head to Iowa. Bachmann, on the other hand, announced she was withdrawing from the race.