Its Official: State GOP Confirms Santorum Iowa Winner

AP

The Iowa Republican Party officially declared Rick Santorum the winner of the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, after saying Thursday no winner could be confirmed because votes from eight precincts were missing.

Mitt Romney was initially declared the Iowa winner with an eight-vote finish over Santorum. On Thursday, the state Republican Party said the final vote count actually put Santorum ahead by 34 votes, but couldn’t officially declare him the winner because of the missing precincts.

But shortly before midnight Friday, on the eve of the South Carolina primary, the Iowa Republican Party reversed course and issued a one-line statement declaring Santorum the winner of the state, Politico reported.

“In order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released January 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa, Chairman Matthew Strawn and the State Central Committee declared Senator Rick Santorum the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucus,” the statement said.

The final vote tally was 29,839 votes for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney, with a turnout of 121,503.

Romney called Santorum to congratulate him on Thursday, though his campaign released a statement saying the state had been “a virtual tie.”

The Iowa GOP announcement puts the primary vote tally at one each for Romney and Santorum.

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