Who won the Iowa caucuses? Er …

posted at 8:40 am on January 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

On the night of the Iowa caucuses, the state GOP reported that Mitt Romney had won … by eight votes.  In terms of delegate distribution, that would have produced a tie, if in fact the Iowa caucuses assigned delegates at all to the national Republican convention, which it most assuredly does not.  It’s a non-binding preference poll; Iowa’s delegates get selected at the state convention months from now, and the preference poll has no role in that selection process.

Thanks to the close vote, people have waited for the certified count to see who really won the Iowa caucuses.  And the answer is — er, we still don’t really know:

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.

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.

Santorum can now claim to have won the Iowa caucuses.  That and $4.50 will buy you a skinny peppermint mocha latte in South Carolina, where Santorum’s status has been slipping ever since he decided to tilt at a few windmills in New Hampshire.  Just as the actual Iowa caucus night was a virtual tie, the same still holds now.  Iowa benefited both Santorum and Romney, and that won’t change, even if the impact for Santorum turned out to be rather short-lived.

The better question is this: why should we pay this much attention to a non-binding caucus that can’t get a close count straight?


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Another reason to ignore Iowa and their odd caucusing peculiarities.

golfer1 on January 19, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Why all the fuss if it doesn’t matter anyway? This must be how the Iowans deal with cabin fever. Let’s all get together and talk politics.

Kissmygrits on January 19, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Iowa has ruined the integrity of the entire GOP primary.

Was the primary “thrown”?

Or “quasi-thrown via incompetence, but Iowa promises they were really trying, so the primary counts as not rigged”, “because Iowa’s mom said so.”

kunegetikos on January 19, 2012 at 9:52 AM

I know I shouldn’t generalize but, gosh, the party looks swell when these things happen.

Cindy Munford on January 19, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Our ballots were 4″ x 6″ pieces of paper with all candidates listed and a check box in front of their names.

You could check them off with pencil , pen, lipstick, shoe polish or crayons didn’t matter pretty simple.
whats frustrating as hell is some republicans somewhere could screw this up.
But hey at least we aren’t Floriduh with hangin chads, not punched chads and three months of inspection and litigation!

bright side to every screw-up AARRRGGHH!

ConcealedKerry on January 19, 2012 at 9:54 AM

The more I think about this the more I realize the only solution is to have all the candidates back have Romney spend another 15 million on TV have Ron Paul throw in just as much and have a DO OVER!

ConcealedKerry on January 19, 2012 at 9:55 AM

But hey at least we aren’t Floriduh with hangin chads,

ConcealedKerry on January 19, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Hey, my chads may not be as perky as they used to be, but they ain’t hangin’ yet.

//

Flora Duh on January 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Its time we all realized that the repub estab are just as
crooked as the dem estab….perhaps just as thuggish as the
Obama administration.

Until we realize we have a country and a way of life to fight for,
we will keep falling for the same ole same o.

Amjean on January 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Flora Duh on January 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

That’s good to hear and sorry I spelled your name wrong Flora Duh <:)

ConcealedKerry on January 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

ConcealedKerry on January 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Have a good day. :-)

It’s already looking to be one of the most interesting in this race thus far.

Flora Duh on January 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM

ConcealedKerry on January 19, 2012 at 9:28 AM

J.S.K. on January 19, 2012 at 9:45 AM

My mistake. I somehow got the idea that it was merely by headcount. That being said, it doesn’t sound as if the paper ballots were treated with the rigor that comes with real elections.

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Can’t trust Iowans. If that many of them are dumb enough to vote for Romney, I’m not surprised they can’t count.

doorsxp on January 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM

The Iowa Republican Party people are either on the Romney payroll, or are anathema to Rick Santorum because they’ve been nothing if not downright rude to him since they got caught calling a close race on election night.

They have certainly lost any respect they might have owned as the “first in the nation” blah blah blah. Pitiful performance.

BKeyser on January 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

(1) Strip Iowa of all delegates in 2012 and in 2016.

(2) Iowa may hold a primary beginning in 2020 on the condition that it votes last. It shall be illegal to hold a non-binding caucus in Iowa.

(3) No Presidential candidate shall enter Iowa for 100 years, unless (a) the candidate’s mother lives in Iowa and (b) she is on fire or drowning.

kunegetikos on January 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM

The GOPIowa dope on Fox just now didn’t help their cause… good lord “I am in the tank for Romney and fraud” is a PR nightmare.

Odie1941 on January 19, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Another reason to ignore Iowa and their odd caucusing peculiarities.
golfer1 on January 19, 2012 at 9:47 AM

We’ll never ignore them (totally), but we (Conservatives) sure should reduce the significance that we ascribe it.
Unfortunately, none of us have any control over the JOURNALISTS!

listens2glenn on January 19, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Thanks, Iowa!

… for having inoculated the-One-who-makes-the-seas-recede, just in case any “unexpected” voting irregularities happen along this year. You idiots.

kunegetikos on January 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Did anyone think to check Planet Kolob for the missing precincts?

Stayright on January 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Did anyone think to check Planet Kolob for the missing precincts?

Stayright on January 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I think kolob is a star. Mitt will have a planet to lord over in its vicinity someday though.

tom daschle concerned on January 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Soooo…. Mitt didn’t win IA. But did win NH. Now Gingrich looks like he might be surging again in SC (man… he needs to change his name to Lazarus. How many times has he been pronounced dead in this primary?). So if Gingrich takes SC, does that make Mitt the most recent flavor of the week?

Yep… a most interesting primary season after all.

Snorkdoodle Whizbang on January 19, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Did anyone think to check Planet Kolob for the missing precincts?

Stayright on January 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I think kolob is a star. Mitt will have a planet to lord over in its vicinity someday though.

tom daschle concerned on January 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM

My bad. I thought Kolob was the planet where God lives. Do you now how many pregnant wives Mitt have in heaven?

Stayright on January 19, 2012 at 10:52 AM

My bad. I thought Kolob was the planet where God lives. Do you now how many pregnant wives Mitt have in heaven?

Stayright on January 19, 2012 at 10:52 AM

No matter what number I type, it won’t be enough :)

tom daschle concerned on January 19, 2012 at 10:55 AM

The voter fraud… IT BURNSSSSS USSSSSS.

RanchTooth on January 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

More proof that the fix is in for Romney right?

/not bitter

The Schaef on January 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Warning: double-post approaching…

My bad. I thought Kolob was the planet where God lives.
Stayright on January 19, 2012 at 10:52 AM

How long have I spend blowing people’s minds with the revelation that (at least the original) Battlestar Galactica was a veiled manifesto for Mormonism (see also: Battlefield Earth for Scientology), stemming from creator Glen A. Larson’s own Mormon beliefs, and only now, ONLY JUST NOW, do I pick up on the fact that the planet Kobol mentioned in the show is an anagram for Kolob?

Right at the moment one thinks one is smart, that is the moment one realizes how dumb one truly is.

The Schaef on January 19, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Well, looks like the long-practiced IL tradition of “losing” votes has oozed west over the Mississippi River, across the state border into IA.

On a more important point–thank you for noting the irrelevance of the caucus to the selection of convention delegates. I hope people will pay more attention to how the primaries figure into the selection of convention delegates. If one candidate doesn’t have the magic 1144 delegate pledge, the nomination isn’t a wrap.

In many states, the Repub ballots still include names of candidates who’ve dropped out (Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman, Perry) so votes can still be cast for them which means it’s possible to dilute the vote count enough so that the so-called “front-runner” might not win all remaining primaries or the convention delegates. Op Chaos is still possible.

As an example, today’s featured state is Arizona with the Winner-Take-All primary to be held on Feb 28. While 29 delegates are up for grabs, there are 23–yes, 23–names on the ballot.

Believe it or not, irrelevant as it seems, Dem primaries will be held in some states, like Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma, where there are names besides Obama’s on the Dem ballots.

stukinIL4now on January 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

“results from eight precincts were missing and will never be recovered ”

ha ha ha such competence

Dave Rywall on January 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Santorum can now claim to have won the Iowa caucuses. That and $4.50 will buy you a skinny peppermint mocha latte in South Carolina,

You forgot the bragging rights. Santorum now has bragging rights.

Oh, and Romney lost his bragging rights in Iowa. How will he ever recover from the loss?

Ok, so it’s not much, but it does count for something. Being able to say you won Iowa is a whole lot better than having to say you came in a very, very close second.

tom on January 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

The better question is this: why should we pay this much attention to a non-binding caucus that can’t get a close count straight?

– Captain Ed

Should be this….

“The better question is this: why should we pay this much attention to a non-binding caucus that can’t get a close count straight, ” + “and allows independents, Democrats and Libertarians to register/re-register and vote in the caucuses.”

FTFY

oldroy on January 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM

So, no unsubstantiated accusation of voter fraud here, then? A very close race, with results coming in two weeks later, and the lead changing hands?

Oh, I get it. That’s only a Democrat thing.

YYZ on January 19, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Romney led by 8 votes in the initial unofficial count, but lost by 34 when they finished counting.

Is this really grounds for suspicion? It sounds pretty mundane.

I find it interesting that all Santorum gets from this win is bragging rights, and yet some people seem determined to make sure he doesn’t even get that.

tom on January 19, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Why does Romney claim a “tie”?

Schadenfreude on January 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Time to eliminate Iowa as first, they’ve had a good run. Now someone else gets a turn.

The only way it can be done outside of the RNC is to have a medium to large state codify into state law that they are 3 week days before Iowa, and be willing to pay the cost to do it.

scotash on January 19, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Which means Mitt has only won NH, that’s it, nothing more, and is now trailing in SC…if you use the reasoning of the Mitt-wits, Mitt should pull out, he has lost, it’s all over, he is doomed…

right2bright on January 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM

What an embarrassment.

netster007x on January 19, 2012 at 3:42 PM

THE EIGHT MISSING PRECINCTS
* Cerro Gordo County’s Mason City Ward 2, Precinct 3
* Emmet County’s Estherville Ward 2
* Franklin County’s Geneva-Reeve
* Lee County’s Fort Madison 4A
* Lee County’s Fort Madison 4B
* Lee County’s Franklin-Cedar-Marion
* Lee County’s Washington-Green Bay-Denmark
* Pocahontas County’s Center-South Roosevelt-North Lincoln

Missing? How did the votes go missing? Was the truck hijacked? This is insane. Iowa has some serious problems.

SoulGlo on January 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM

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