19 January 2012

Santorum declared winner of Iowa caucuses

Following a recount in Iowa it turns out that it was Rick Santorum - and not the front-runner Mitt Romney - who won the GOP caucuses on 3 January this year, Des Moines Register reports today (see also Bloomberg.com). It was earlier reported that Mitt Romney had won by 8 votes, but the new count gives 34 votes in favour of Santorum. Really? It turns out that 8 precincts remain uncertified, so it will be difficult to say for sure who the winner really was.

Concerning the number of delegates from Iowa, it will not change anything. The question is whether Santorum's (alleged) victory would have made a bigger impact on the campaign if it had been known earlier. I have my doubts. Santorum didn't stand a chance in New Hampshire anyway, and today's news will probably not change the result in Saturday's South Carolina primary much either.

Obviously the campaign has become more open and exciting now as Rick Perry has finally suspended his campaign and endorsed Newt Gingrich. Romney still has a small lead in South Carolina according to the latest polls (see RCP), but it will be interesting to see how Perry's goodbye will influence the campaign in the next few days. Could Gingrich actually win in South Carolina? Well, he certainly can. Then again, if ABC's interview with his ex-wife Marianne is aired before the primary takes place on Saturday 21 January, it might hurt his chances. Mitt Romney will nevertheless remain the front-runner and favourite to win the GOP nomination. But the campaign will certainly be more exciting for a few days more. Santorum and Paul are too far behind to have any chance in South Carolina. As of now Romney holds a solid lead in Florida (RCP). If he wins there, I am inclined to believe that it is a done deal.

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