Updated at 12:25p.m., PT on 12.25.11
2012 Iowa Straw Poll winners: Mitt Romney #1, Rick Santorum #2 and Ron Paul #3. An angry Newt Gingrich who said he is changing his approach finished 4th. Rick Perry who finished a disappointing 5th said he was heading back to Texas to reevaluate… which means short of a lot of arm-twisting from influential backers, he is out. And Michele Bachmann rounds out the field in 6th place after having been the winner of the Iowa Straw Poll this past August. She said she is going nowhere and it is headed on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, but the word is she is out of money. Technically Jon Huntsman Jr. finished 7th in Iowa but he really didn’t campaign or participate there.
Update: Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann formally ended her campaign for the White House this morning, just one day after Mitt Romney’s Iowa caucus victory. “Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice. And I have decided to stand aside,” the GOP Congresswoman from Minnesota told reporters today.
And there is also an interesting side note… Looks like although Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus (by 8 votes) and Rick Santorum was the story of the Iowa Caucus. Ron Paul may be the delegate winner.
And after heading home to Texas on Tuesday night and cancelling his South Carolina plans, Perry announced on Wednesday that he was staying in the race? Go figure?!?
In reality… the Iowa Caucuses were a virtual tie between Romney and Santorum followed by a strong 3rd for Ron Paul.
Photo: GOP participants in the Iowa Caucuses
“Game on”, said former the Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum from the podium last night. For whether he finished first or second in the Iowa Caucuses… he is the story of the day… he was the winner!!
(Wikipedia) The Iowa caucuses are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions. The caucuses are generally defined as “gatherings of neighbors”. There are 99 counties in Iowa and thus 99 conventions. These county conventions then select delegates for both Iowa’s Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions (the national conventions). The 2012 Iowa Caucuses are held on January 3, 2012.
The Iowa caucuses are noteworthy for the amount of media attention they receive during U.S. presidential election years. Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States. Although only about 1% of the nation’s delegates are chosen by the Iowa State Convention (28 Republican delegates in 2012, assigned proportionately), the Iowa caucuses have served as an early indication of which candidates for president might win the nomination of their political party at that party’s national convention, and which ones could drop out for lack of support.
Photo: Participants it the Ames Iowa Straw Poll in August 2011: Rick Santorum,
Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich… Rick Perry had not even entered the race yet.
It is an amazingly curious process that begins with the Ames Iowa Straw Poll which took its first casualty of the GOP presidential race, Tim Pawlenty. Gary Johnson, who has also now moved from the GOP field to the Libertarian party, did not participate in the straw poll and Thad McCotter, who did participate, did not qualify for the pre-poll debate and dropped out of the race after the Straw Poll.
All three of the frontrunners: Romney, Santorum and Paul gave great speeches at the end of the night. Gingrich sadly sounded like a vindictive whiner, which in the end will only hurt the GOP, the American people and help re-elect Obama. Mr. No Negative Newt is turning into Get Even Angry Gingrich. Newt has already taken out a full page negative anti-Romney ad in South Carolina to hit the papers the day after the Caucus.
A side note… at the end of the evening it was announced that the Iowa Republican Party could not find the last 1% of votes from Clinton and Keokuk counties. All the major networks, local reporters and media sat waiting long after the winners gave their speeches and went to bed. Some were already off to New Hampshire or South Carolina before the votes were found.
All the remaining GOP candidates will participate in two debates that are scheduled before the New Hampshire primary where Romney now leads by 40%+ in every poll, even with Jon Huntsman having virtually lived in that state for months now. There will also be another debate right before the South Carolina primary.
In every poll, Romney still comes out as the most electable against Obama in the General Election compared to all the other GOP candidates.
Countdown to New Hampshire primary: 7 days
Countdown to South Carolina primary: 18 days
Countdown to Florida primary: 28 days
Countdown to Nevada caucuses: 32 days
Countdown to Super Tuesday: 63 days
Countdown to Election Day: 308 days
Total ad spending in Iowa: By the way, the campaigns and various Super PACs spent more than $16 million in advertising in Iowa. The breakdown for the major players: Perry $4.3 million, Paul $2.8 million, Restore Our Future (pro-Romney) $2.8 million, Make Us Great Again (pro-Perry) $1.6 million, Romney $1.5 million, Gingrich $980,000, Red White and Blue Fund (pro-Santorum) $530,000, Winning Our Future (pro-Gingrich) $264,000, Bachmann $180,000, and Santorum $30,000.
Future ad spending: Here is what’s slated to run after today: In New Hampshire, Romney, Paul, and the pro-Huntsman Our Destiny PAC are all booked to run TV ads between tomorrow and the Jan. 9th primary. In South Carolina, Romney, Paul, and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future are booked. And in Florida, Restore Our Future is booked on broadcast advertising until Jan. 9th.
Obama addressed the Iowa Democratic caucus-goers, via video teleconference as the GOP Caucus was going on, at 8:15 pm ET. He made his case for another term to the absence of any noticeable cheering, chanting or clapping. And on Wednesday, 01.04.12, he goes to the important battleground state of Ohio, where he will speak in Cleveland
*While waiting for the lost votes to come in I listened to the coverage from the BBC. (Always good to hear things from another perspective!) Their take is that the GOP really needs to pull themselves together and start focusing on the prize… beating Obama, instead of beating each other up! They thought that Obama is very vulnerable, but the infighting and extreme ideology of some voter groups will end up causing Obama to be reelected.
Reports out of the Obama campaign are that they are elated by the 3-way split of votes in Iowa as well as the latest reports of stepped up in-fighting. They feel that if the united GOP goal is really to replace him, they should be able to unite.
At 1:54a.m.ET with 122,255 votes cast, the difference between Romney and Santorum was just 4-votes, with Santorum leading. At 2:34a.m. ET the final tally came in by agreement of the senior staff people of the two winning camps. But during and after that gap, the talking heads had a lot of time to kill while waiting for the final votes to come in. At 2:35a.m. they were pondering whether perhaps it was not too late for someone else to jump in… or as the old song lyrics go, should Republicans ‘learn to love the ones they are with’ instead of yearning for a dream team they wanted that didn’t run like Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan…
In the end, Romney won the race by 8 votes…. as we said before, a virtual tie. (Jon Huntsman siphoned off approximately 700 votes and Herman Cain got 58 votes, even though he is out of the race.) Both Romney (30,015 votes) and Santorum (30,007 votes) came out winners. And Ron Paul doing this well is also a victory for his campaign.
But the true question is… Is the division displayed in Iowa a victory for the GOP voters and ultimately for the American people?