Iowa Caucus Photo Finish: Mitt Romney Wins by 14, Rick Santorum Comes in Second & Ron Paul Comes in Third; Arizona’s John McCain to Endorse Mitt Romney Tomorrow

| January 3 2012

Update: Mitt Romney wins by 14 votes.

The Republican Iowa Caucuses are not over. It is a photo finish, with 5 votes separating Romney and Santorum at 12:48pm ET. I will update this as the results become official, but I imagine they will not because of how “close” the race has become. In the meantime, here are some notes about Iowa’s results.

Rick Santorum did well, he might of even won (we do not know yet), but is it a surprise? Iowa was specifically crafted for Santorum, who ran an Iowa-esque retail politics campaign, visiting every county. Santorum’s evangelical appeal (even though he is Catholic), much like Pat Robertson’s appeal of Iowa’s past, is specifically crafted to be successful in the Hawkeye state. Santorum deserves a lot of credit for turning around a hopeless campaign and making it “interesting” by filling a niche. If Santorum plays his cards right, which he likely will, he might find himself in Romney’s administration. There is talk about VP contention, but I do not think that is realistic as Romney will need to tack right in his VP pick.

Nate Silver on Santorum:

Nate Silver: “It might be instructive to compare Mr. Santorum’s position to that of another social conservative, Mike Huckabee. Mr. Huckabee was in a much stronger position outside of Iowa than Mr. Santorum is right now, polling at about 17 percent in national surveys at this point four years ago. Mr. Santorum, by contrast, is at only 4 percent support nationally in the latest Gallup poll. That Mr. Huckabee was not able to capitalize on his Iowa victory, despite seemingly being in a more advantageous position to do so, is one reason to be skeptical of whether Mr. Santorum would be able to, either.”

Remember, Ron Paul promised he would come in “first or second.” Ron Paul is the biggest loser of the night, as he absolutely needed Iowa for his delegate strategy. Ron Paul will fight on, as winning was secretly never on his radar in the first place.

“Before the voting began in Iowa, Ron Paul was asked by an ABC correspondent, ‘When you lay your head on your pillow at night, do you see yourself in the Oval Office?’

“Not really,” he said.

It is all about spreading the gospel of Ron Paul, which his campaign accomplished amazingly. Regardless of my personal feelings about Ron Paul, he has shaped the GOP race.

The biggest winner is Romney, who did not campaign as heavily as he did in 2008 and only needed to finish in the top three to reach the ideal “spin zone.” In all seriousness, Iowa does not matter, as earlier posts have indicated. It is New Hampshire that matters to Romney, but Iowa’s placement certainly assists Romney in his goals. I am not trying to kick Iowa in the gut, just speaking truth to power here.

As I write this post, breaking news suggest that Senator John McCain will endorse Mitt Romney in New Hampshire tomorrow.

Arizona Senator John McCain, his party’s 2008 nominee, will endorse Mitt Romney in New Hampshire tomorrow, a well-placed former McCain aide told BuzzFeed Tuesday.

Michelle Bachmann might tie Paul for the biggest loser of the night for coming in behind everyone else, although no one expected her to win. Will she drop out and endorse a candidate? My conspiracy theory of the day is that Bachmann supports Romney and therefore will stay in to the bitter end to assist him break up the vote.

Newt Gingrich is smarting from Romney’s attack ads. Gingrich’s campaign floundered in Iowa, after reaching a surprising peak just a few weeks ago, but suffered because of Romney affiliated Super Pac ads (I think his record had to do with the fall ). Gingrich will likely not win, but expect the scorn to be leveled copiously. The next debate will be ugly, very ugly. It starts now.

Alas, Rick Perry. I had high hopes for his campaign initially, but his lack of debate ability torpedoed his campaign advantages. His placement is bad enough where he will go home and reassess the entire campaign, possibly dropping out. In fact, reports suggest that he “is” going home to Texas to reassess his campaign, signaling to donors that he is wavering. It is likely over. *Sigh.

If your candidate lost, pick up your big boy or big girls pants. We all know the score, it is President Obama that must be defeated. I urge you not to fall into the trap of tearing each other apart before the general. If you are still mad, get some rest and wake up tomorrow morning with a clear mind.

 

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