Santorum claims victory in Iowa after recheck

 

WASHINGTON – Former senator Rick Santorum’s campaign claimed a belated victory in the Iowa caucuses yesterday morning after certified results from the contest showed him leading Mitt Romney by 34 votes, a reversal from the eight-vote edge for Mr Romney on the caucus night.

Matt Strawn, chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party, announced yesterday morning that an actual winner could not be determined in the caucuses because results from eight of 1,774 precincts could not be located for certification. But of the votes that could be reviewed by the party, the officials said, Mr Santorum finished just ahead of Mr Romney.

“Just as I did in the early morning hours on January 4th, I congratulate senator Santorum and governor Romney on a hard-fought effort during the closest contest in caucus history,” Mr Strawn said in a statement. The certified results found that Mr Santorum received 29,839 votes, and Mr Romney got 29,805 votes.

Mr Santorum moved quickly yesterday to declare victory and dismissed the suggestion that a clear-cut winner could not be determined. In a Twitter message to his supporters, he wrote: “Thank you Iowa for the win! I encourage everyone to join our fight in South Carolina! Game on!”

He will argue to voters in South Carolina, aides said, that the result shows he is the best-equipped candidate to emerge as a conservative alternative to Mr Romney. “The history books will read that the winner of the Iowa caucuses in 2012 is Rick Santorum. That’s the bottom line,” Hogan Gidley, an adviser to Mr Santorum, said in an interview yesterday.

The Iowa contest is considered a “beauty contest” that does not officially allocate delegates to the winner, but the muddled result could be a psychological gain for Mr Santorum, and robs Mr Romney of being able to say that he swept the early contests. – ( New York Timesservice)