Bloomberg News

Santorum Declared Iowa Caucuses ‘Winner’ by State Party Leaders

January 22, 2012

(For 2012 campaign news, see ELECT.)

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Presidential candidate Rick Santorum won the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Republican Party leaders in the state said in an e-mail late yesterday.

“In order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released Jan. 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa, Chairman Matthew Strawn and the state central committee declared Senator Rick Santorum the winner,” the party said in a statement not attributed to any single person.

The Republican Party of Iowa had said on Jan. 19 that Santorum finished the Iowa caucuses 34 votes ahead of Mitt Romney, who had previously been declared the winner, when it released certified results more than two weeks after the voting.

Certified totals remain missing for eight precincts, so the complete totals aren’t known.

Romney, 64, called the result a “virtual tie” in a Jan. 19 statement that cited Santorum’s “strong performance.” Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, declined today to add anything beyond the previous statement.

The former Massachusetts governor and business executive can no longer claim to have made history by becoming the first Republican non-incumbent to win both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary since the caucuses became the start of the presidential nominating process in 1976.

Iowa party officials had named Romney the winner in the early morning hours on Jan. 4 because he was ahead of Santorum by eight votes in its initial tabulation from the 1,774 precincts where voting was held in the state’s 99 counties.

The narrow margin of the Iowa results revealed a divided party, still undecided over whether to compromise fiscal and social conservative ideology for a candidate -- Romney -- whom polls show is in a better position to attract independent voters needed to beat Obama in the general election.

Santorum, 53, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, surged in the closing days of the Iowa campaign as social conservatives who give greater weight to opposition to abortion and gay marriage rallied around him.

Today’s Primary

In South Carolina, where the third nomination contest will be held today, Santorum has talked at events about how he might have actually won the caucuses. He’s trying to cut into the argument, made by Romney’s campaign, that the former governor’s showings in Iowa and New Hampshire signify he has momentum and it’s inevitable he’ll secure the nomination.

Before the certification, Romney expressed little concern about the outcome.

“I’m not sure that changes much,” he said Jan. 17, when asked about the possibility that the Iowa results might change.

The totals won’t directly affect the delegate count for the nomination because Iowa will award its delegates to the national party convention later this year, after a state convention.

--Editors: Ann Hughey, Christian Thompson.

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Tampa at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net


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