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Final Iowa Count Puts Santorum Ahead By 34

From the Des Moines Register:

REGISTER EXCLUSIVE: 2012 GOP caucus count unresolved

Jennifer Jacobs
Jan 19, 2012

THE RESULTS: Santorum finished ahead by 34 votes
MISSING DATA: 8 precincts’ numbers will never be certified
PARTY VERDICT: GOP official says, ‘It’s a split decision’

Rick Santorum – Final total: 29,839 Change: -168
Mitt Romney – Final total: 29,805 Change: -210

It’s a tie for the ages.

There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage.

Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

How could so many votes just be "missing"?

What a disgrace. This is not Florida. The Iowa GOP should be able to keep track of a measly 125,000 votes.

GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, although not all the changes affected the two leaders. Changes in one precinct alone shifted the vote by 50 — a margin greater than the certified tally.

The certified numbers: 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney. The turnout: 121,503.

It’s not a surprise that the ultra-thin gap of eight votes on caucus night didn’t hold up, but it’s tough to swallow the fact that there will always be a question mark hanging over this race, politics insiders said

How hard is it to count? Especially when the outcome sets the tone for the rest of the contest for the GOP nomination?

Romney has already soaked up the benefits of his declared win. With the Iowa caucuses, the prize is the immediate media attention and the credibility bestowed on the winner. But history now has an asterisk: It’s not clear whether Romney is the first Republican since 1976 to win in both Iowa and New Hampshire

Over the last two weeks, the vote total seesawed wildly — just as it did on caucus night.

“When I called Governor (Terry) Branstad to update him (Tuesday) night before I went to bed, I told him I could not tell him who was going to come out on top of the certified results,” GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told the Register Wednesday morning.

“Despite what had been in the media, it really was, even the night before the deadline, it really was too close to call,” he said.

Who led depended on the luck of the draw of which precincts rolled in next, said Chad Olsen, the party’s executive director.

Then why announce anything? Why not wait until they are all certified. In fact, why have the caucuses at all, if they can’t be any more clear than this?

Romney was ahead by 51 votes the weekend after the caucuses, Olsen said. On Tuesday night, Romney was up 24 votes. Then at noon Wednesday, Santorum was up by only three votes. The six precincts that happened to come in next boosted Santorum to a 34-vote lead.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday — the deadline for volunteers to get their official “Form E” paperwork with caucus results to Republican Party of Iowa headquarters in Des Moines — the back-and-forth ended with 1,766 precincts certified out of 1,774…

All 99 counties turned in their documented results — Howard County was the last and arrived by fax Wednesday — but party officials had to hunt down dozens of missing precincts.

As far as party leaders could tell, no Form Es ever existed for the eight missing precincts, Olsen said. There’s no chance those eight will certified, he said

In the tabulation room on caucus night, campaign representatives agreed they were comfortable with the numbers showing an eight-vote win for Romney. Everyone promised that as changes flowed in during certification, they would not disclose those vote counts or talk about them with reporters, agreeing that the back-and-forth would be misleading, Olsen said

So everybody agreed to just guess about who won and that they would stick to their story. They didn’t want to be misleading.

What a way to run a railroad. Especially if you are the one getting railroaded.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, January 19th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Final Iowa Count Puts Santorum Ahead By 34”

  1. artboyusa

    Romney versus Santorum…its a bit like a contest to see who’s the tallest pygmy, isn’t it?


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