This year’s Iowa Republican caucuses came down to the wire as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum battled for the top spot. Mitt Romney won in a squeakier, besting Santourum by just eight votes (30,015 to 30,007 respectively).
Going into the caucus, Romney was the Republican establishment’s pick, despite being unable to woo social conservatives (or a majority of likely voters). Santourum, on the other hand, is a conservative darling who’s been slowly building support from activists on the Right.
Although last night’s Republican caucus didn’t award either candidate convention delegates, it did set the stage for an interesting contest going forward, and perhaps a prolonged primary process, between Mitt Romney and Rick Santourum.
Another winner last night was Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. Paul nearly doubled his 2008 Iowa Caucus performance (garnering 21%), and finished a close third behind Romney and Santourum.
Last night’s losers? Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Michelle Bachman, who all gave concession speeches and will probably be “reassessing” their campaigns (read: dropping out of the race).
Now that the Iowa caucuses are behind them, the candidates will turn their attention to New Hampshire, who will be holding their Republican primary vote next week. Many pundits feel if Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, can pull out a win in the neighboring state of New Hampshire, he may have a lock on the nomination. However, if Santourum or Paul pulls out a victory in the Granite State it could prove to be a long, drawn-out Republican primary season.