In one of the closet presidential contests in history, Mitt Romney was declared winner of Tuesday night's Iowa caucuses by a mere eight votes. Romney took 24.6 percent of the vote, barely edging out rival Rick Santorum, who was carried to the top of the polls with the support of evangelical Christians. Young caucus-goers helped deliver libertarian Congressman Ron Paul a close third place finish, with 21.4 percent of the vote. The night was perhaps most disappointing for one-time front-runners Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Bachmann finished last, with only five percent of the vote. Perry announced he would suspend his campaign after placing just ahead of Bachmann. Anna Sale, reporter for WNYC's politics website It's A Free Country, attended a caucus Tuesday night in Sioux City. She describes the atmosphere. Steffen Schmidt, professor of political science at the Iowa State University, and It's A Free Country contributor, analyzes Romney's victory.
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