Iowa has decided its winner of the race to nominate the next GOP presidential candidate.
At 2:32 a.m. ET (and yes, I was unfortunately awake for this) the Iowa GOP officials confirmed that Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses by a whole EIGHT VOTES over Rick Santorum. Both candidates received 25 percent of the Republican vote.
For much of the night, Romney and Santorum flip-flopped in the returns and only bested each other by 100 or so votes at the most sometimes. At one point, Romney only led by one point.
Don’t read too much into it. Only a small percentage of registered Iowa Republicans caucused on Tuesday night. An eight vote margin is not completely out of the realm of possibility. It’s a shocker, but this is still a small segment of an already-segmented population.
Almost 122,000 Republican voters participated in Tuesday’s matchup.
I think Santorum’s second-place finish means more than Romney’s win. Santorum has been a third-tier candidate for much of this race. But, he was one of the ones who was most committed to Iowa from the very beginning. He worked the ground long before everyone started paying attention to the state for this contest. Michele Bachmann was another candidate that had a strong early presence in Iowa.
Santorum’s finish means he definitely has more national credibility and he’ll need to continue the hard work moving forward. At this point, Romney, Santorum, and Ron Paul (who placed third with 21% of the vote) all still have a fighting chance.
Here’s how everyone else placed:
- 4th: Newt Gingrich (13 percent of the vote)
- 5th: Rick Perry (10 percent of the vote)
- 6th: Michele Bachmann (5 percent of the vote)
- 7th: Jon Huntsmann (1 percent of the vote)
What’s next you ask? Well, Iowa is now a memory for the candidates. All eyes are on New Hampshire and their January 10 primary contest. The candidates can stop acting like they care about Iowa now, no matter what their showing was.