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Iowa GOP Certifies Santorum Finished Ahead of Romney — But No 'Winner'

The state GOP says the true winner of the Iowa Caucus will never be known.

CEDAR FALLS, IA- Rick Santorum garnered 34 more votes than Mitt Romney to finish first in the Iowa caucuses, but missing results from several precincts apparently means that nobody will know who truly won the Jan. 3 vote.

In perhaps the biggest debacle in Iowa's Caucus history, an unknown number of votes will never be counted.

The final tally for the Iowa Caucus was formally released early this morning by the Iowa Republican party, which controls the voting and reporting of results across the state, unlike primaries in other states.

The Republican Party’s final, certified vote totals represent 1,766 of the state’s 1,774 caucus precincts, and reflect a record-breaking 121,503 Iowans who participated, according to a news release just issued.

The final tally gives former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum a win with 29,839 ballots over 29,805 for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

Certified vote totals were unavailable for eight of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts. Full, certified vote totals per precinct are available online at www.iowagop.org.

Romney had been declared the winner by eight votes in the wee hours of the morning following the Jan. 3 caucuses. Today’s new, revised and certified numbers: 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney. The turnout: 121,503.

“It will be a story and Santorum will seize upon it, but it won’t change the current political narrative,” John Stineman, an Iowa Republican operative, told the Register.

Romney followed his Iowa performance with a win in New Hampshire a week later. South Carolina holds its primary Saturday.

Normally, the process is a formality, but not this year. The Iowa Caucus was held on Jan. 3 and ended with between declared winner Mitt Romney and runner-up Rick Santorum.

Iowa's 99 counties had 14 days from the caucus to submit a Form E document from each of the caucus precincts within the county. The document is the official record of the presidential preference vote in each of Iowa's 1,774 precincts its vote totals. That was due at 5 p.m. today, Jan. 18. 

In a news release sent out on Wednesday afternoon, Strawn announced party officials have been working throughout the day to help counties meet the deadline. 
  
The timeline is as follows:

The Iowa GOP will publicly release the certified vote totals at 8:15 a.m., Thursday. The certified Form E documents will then be made available for inspection by presidential campaign representatives at 9 a.m. at the Iowa GOP headquarters in Des Moines. The certified Form E documents will then be made available for inspection by members of the news media starting at 11 a.m.

Since the caucus, at least one caucus night volunteer came forward to say his counties votes were miscounted. The difference wouldthe winner, he said. Another there were flaws in some of the certified reports being submitted. It remains a possibility even with the certified results, we may never know the real winner.

However, the vote was so close, it is a virtual tie. It's likely of little consequence if the first and second spot shifts. By now, most political watchers are focused on South Carolina, which has its primary on Saturday.

Romney's strength was largely in the center of the state, in Polk, Dallas and Story counties, where he won handily over Santorum and Paul.

Iowa's Caucus results have historically been a game-changer for some candidates, and the momentum from an announced Iowa "victory," however slight, certainly boosted Romney's standing in the GOP.

Our Earlier Reporting

Normally, the process is a formality, but not this year. The Iowa Caucus was held on Jan. 3 and ended with between declared winner Mitt Romney and runner-up Rick Santorum.

Iowa's 99 counties had 14 days from the caucus to submit a Form E document from each of the caucus precincts within the county. The document is the official record of the presidential preference vote in each of Iowa's 1,774 precincts its vote totals. 

In a news release sent out on Wednesday afternoon, Strawn announced party officials have been working throughout the day to help counties meet the deadline. 
 
The timeline is as follows:

The Iowa GOP will publicly release the certified vote totals at 8:15 a.m., Thursday. The certified Form E documents will then be made available for inspection by presidential campaign representatives at 9 a.m. at the Iowa GOP headquarters in Des Moines. The certified Form E documents will then be made available for inspection by members of the news media starting at 11 a.m.

Since the caucus, at least one caucus night volunteer came forward to say his counties votes were miscounted. The difference wouldthe winner, he said. Another there were flaws in some of the certified reports being submitted. It remains a possibility even with the certified results, we may never know the real winner.

However, the vote was so close, it is a virtual tie. It's likely of little consequence if the first and second spot shifts. By now, most political watchers are focused on South Carolina, which has its primary on Saturday.

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