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Santorum Tops Romney in Iowa Caucus 'Split Decision' Santorum Tops Romney in Iowa Caucus 'Split Decision'

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / campaign 2012

Santorum Tops Romney in Iowa Caucus 'Split Decision'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney points towards the audience as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum looks on before a Republican presidential candidate debate at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, N.H., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

photo of Niraj Chokshi
January 19, 2012

It's official: It was too close to call in Iowa.

Rick Santorum led Mitt Romney by 34 votes in the race for the GOP presidential nomination in Iowa, according to a recount of the Jan. 3 state caucus results, with data from 8 precincts missing and never to be certified, GOP officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday. But, despite Santorum's advantage, the state Republican party views the results as a wash.

"It’s a split decision," the party’s executive director, Chad Olsen, told The Register.

 

Romney had been declared the victor of the caucuses in the early morning hours after the election, but the now virtual tie may provide Santorum with fresh ammunition for his argument that he has the best chance to emerge as the conservative alternative to Romney, a case he is trying to make in South Carolina, which hosts its primary on Saturday. 

Hogan Gidley, Santorum’s national communications director, told CNN’s American Morning Thursday that the news was a “big win” for the campaign.
 
“The narrative for a long time has been Mitt Romney was 2-0. If these results are true… then that’s not the narrative anymore,” Gidley said.
 
“We’re trying to say that we’re the clear, consistent alternative to Mitt Romney, and this just bears the fact,” he said.

Hogan Gidley, Santorum’s national communications director, called the news a "big win" on CNN on Thursday. "The narrative for a long time has been Mitt Romney was 2 and 0. If these results are true … then that’s not the narrative anymore," Gidley said. "We’re the clear, consistent alternative to Mitt Romney, and this just bears the fact," he said.

In a statement, the Romney campaign thanked the Iowa Republican party, saying, "We once again recognize Rick Santorum for his strong performance in the state. The Iowa caucuses, with record turnout, were a great start to defeating President Obama in Iowa and elsewhere in the general election."

Officials found inaccuracies in 131 precincts, with Santorum garnering 29,839 votes while Romney received 29,805, according to the paper.

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