The Republican competition to see who will finally face off against Barack Obama experienced a notable development tonight when Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucus by the narrowest of margins over former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Iowa’s Republican Chairman made the announcement shortly after 2:30 am EST that Mr. Romney managed to finish with a mere 8 vote lead over Mr. Santorum, resulting in what is certainly the closest Iowa caucus vote count in memory. Although Mr. Romney’s ultimate victory is impressive, the results are particularly remarkable for Mr. Santorum, who was polling near last place while running a shoestring campaign for all of the past year.
While the two front-runners were roughly tied at 25% of the vote, Congressman Paul also made a respectable showing by coming in third with about 21%. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Governor Rick Perry did not perform nearly as well, bringing in approximately 13% and 10% respectively. From his concession speech, Governor Perry appeared to be considering dropping out of the race completely.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is probably most disappointed with her results tonight, achieving only 5% of the vote.
The next state to weigh in on the Republican presidential primary will be New Hampshire on January 10th, where Mr. Romney has steadily polled ahead of his political rivals. Unlike Iowa, which collects votes with a relatively complicated caucus system, New Hampshire employs the traditional ballot, which creates a different electoral dynamic.