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January 19th, 2012
 

Santorum Wins Iowa, RPI Refuses to Acknowledge Victory

RJS

Even though the final certified results for the Iowa Caucuses show Rick Santorum garnered 34 more votes than Mitt Romney received, party officials refuse to declare Santorum the winner because eight precincts failed to fill out or turn in the official document with the votes from the precinct.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told the Des Moines Register that he could not speculate on who actually won the caucuses because the party was unable to certify the final eight precincts.  However, we can speculate about those precincts because we have the results that were phoned in on caucus night.  In the eight disputed precincts, Santorum received 81 votes to Romney’s 46.

If the results in those precincts are included, Santorum wins the caucuses by 69 votes.  If those precincts are excluded, Santorum wins the caucuses by 34 votes. The choice that Iowa GOP officials had to make is what to do with the eight disputed precincts. Obviously, you cannot include them in the certified vote.  However, the Iowa GOP took a different route.  Since there are precinct forms that are unaccounted for, they decided to announce that the results of the caucuses are inconclusive, and thus no official winner.

The decision by the Iowa GOP sets a troubling precedent for the caucuses.  In future contests, the only way that a candidate can be declared the official winner is if every precinct in Iowa turns in its completed documents.  If one precinct is unable to report, the caucuses will be rendered inconclusive.

As someone who oversaw the Iowa caucuses four years ago, I can tell you that there are always precincts that fail to turn in the proper documents.  This is the case because the caucuses are conducted entirely by Republican volunteers.  Sometimes you have two precincts that meet together and submit their votes in one lump sum.  Other times you have precincts where nobody shows up.

It seems odd that Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn declared Romney the winner on caucuses night, but refuses to declare Santorum the winner after the certification process.

Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

Iowa GOP Releases Certified Iowa Caucus Presidential Preference Vote Totals

Des Moines, IA – The Republican Party of Iowa today released the final, certified vote totals of the January 3 Iowa Caucus presidential preference vote. The 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.

2012 Iowa Republican Caucus Certified vote totals (1766/1774 precincts certified)

Rick Santorum             29,839

Mitt Romney               29,805

Ron Paul                      26,036

Newt Gingrich             16,163

Rick Perry                    12,557

Michele Bachmann       6,046

Jon Huntsman                  739

No Preference                  147

Other                                 86

Herman Cain                     45

Sarah Palin                        23

Buddy Roemer                  17

Total (1766/1774)       121,503

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.

“Just as I did in the early morning hours on January 4, I congratulate Senator Santorum and Governor Romney on a hard-fought effort during the closest contest in caucus history,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. “Our goal throughout the certification process was to most accurately reflect and report how Iowans voted the evening of January 3. We understand the importance to the candidates involved, but as Iowans, we understand the responsibility we have as temporary caretakers of the Iowa caucuses.””

As Strawn noted during the January 4 announcement of unofficial caucus night vote totals, Iowa GOP rules provided for a 14-day period by which each of Iowa’s 99 counties were required to submit a Form E document from each of the caucus precincts within the county. The Form E document is the official record of the presidential preference vote in each of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts.  The deadline for county Republican officials to submit the Form E documents was 5 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, January 18.  Following Wednesday’s deadline, Iowa GOP officials were able to certify results from 1,766 of the state’s 1,774 precincts.

Strawn noted that a hallmark of the Iowa caucuses is the openness and transparency within which the proceedings occur.  Not only do voting Iowans and presidential campaign representatives have the opportunity to observe the vote counting in each of the state’s precincts, but each presidential campaign had senior campaign officials in the Iowa GOP’s official tabulation center on caucus night.

Strawn indicated this openness and transparency will continue during the post-certification period as the Iowa GOP will be making the precinct caucus Form E documents submitted during the certification process available for review to both presidential campaign officials and members of the media.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheIowaRepublican.com. Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.




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