Santorum nearly squeezes out come-from-behind Iowa caucus victory

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http://nma.tv Rick Santorum lost the Iowa caucuses to Mitt Romey by a mere eight votes, with Ron Paul finishing third. Romney beat Santorum, 30,0015 to 30,007. Both Santorum and Romney received 25 percent of yesterday's vote, with Paul third at 21 percent. The Republican electorate is fractured between voters who support the relatively moderate Romney, who according to polls has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama, and voters looking for a more conservative candidate to support. Mitt Romney may have won the Iowa presidential caucuses, but Rick Santorum won the night. Romney has a huge campaign war chest and a big-spending PAC run by former aids, Restore Our Future, that dropped $4.1 million on the Iowa caucuses, compared to $600,000 by PACs which supported Santorum. That Santorum, the conservative former Pennsylvania senator who written off until last week, nearly won the Iowa caucuses shows just how unenthusiastic Republican voters, especially evangelical Christians, are for the former Massachusetts governor. Ron Paul won the internet by getting endorsements from Chuck Norris and Drudge readers. So his third place finish must be disappointing. The Libertarian-leaning Paul possesses a fanatically loyal core of supporters but is not popular among moderates or politically conservative evangelicals. Santorum's sudden surge from behind was also a product of spectacular implosions by candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain, each of whom was for a period of time the "It" candidate for Republicans wary of Romney. Newt Gingrich also briefly led the field, only to see his poll numbers plummet due to negative campaign advertisements funded by Romney's PAC. Romney is favored to win the New Hampshire primary, though he will lose votes there to former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who appeals to the same kind of voters who support Romney. If Romney fails to win New Hampshire by a respectable margin the race could get interesting, as the next state to hold a primary will be South Carolina, more hospitable territory for Santorum, where, like Iowa, evangelicals form the majority of Republican voters. 

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