Thursday, January 05, 2012

Counting error means Santorum may have won Iowa caucuses


Yes, believe it or not.

Remember how close it was the other night? At one point Romney and Santorum were separated by just a single vote (with just less than 60,000 between the two of them), and, in the end, so we thought, Romney won by eight votes, 30,015 to 30,007. Even if you think the Iowa caucuses are ridiculously overhyped, even if you think the whole thing's ridiculous, a tiny fraction of the electorate seemingly with so much influence, it was quite amazing.

It was basically a tie, and it didn't really matter that Romney won by a hair. Santorum exceeded expectations, and gained momentum, not to mention some necessary credibility, in the process.

But...

It appears that Santorum may actually have won. As Des Moines's KCCI is reporting:

Caucus night was chaotic in many places, with hundreds of voters, candidates showing up and the throngs of media who followed. The world's eyes were on Iowa. But in the quiet town of Moulton, Appanoose County, a caucus of 50 people may just blow up the results.

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn't.

"When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I've got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa," True said. "Not Mitt Romney."

True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party's website, True's precinct cast 22 votes for Romney.

"This is huge," True said. "It essentially changes who won."

Now, that's that's hardly the end of the story:

A spokeswoman with the Iowa Republican Party said True is not a precinct captain and he's not a county chairperson so he has no business talking about election results. She also said the party would not be giving interviews about possible discrepancies until the caucus vote is certified.

So, as of right now, nothing's official. We'll have to wait for the certified result. But True says he's "certain."

If there was a mistake, it was probably a simple one, a simple error. But who knows? One would hope that an investigation would be conducted.

Otherwise, would it matter? Maybe not. The candidates, the media, and our attention have moved on to New Hampshire. But it would give Santorum a small boost to be able to say he won Iowa, the surging candidate no one was taking seriously beating the frontrunner with the elites behind him, a massive ground campaign, and a ton of money. It wouldn't really affect the vote in New Hampshire, which Romney will win easily, but it could narrow the gap just enough to give Santorum some extra hope heading down to South Carolina.

If nothing else, though, this turns our attention back to Iowa, if only briefly, which is bad for Romney. And this is just the sort of thorn in his side that could make his upcoming win in New Hampshire a tad less triumphant, with the narrative shifting in Santorum's favor.

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1 Comments:

  • "A spokeswoman with the Iowa Republican Party said True is not a precinct captain and he's not a county chairperson so he has no business talking about election results." How arrogant! If one of the people who counted the votes has no business pointing out an "error," then who? And we are supposed to trust the Iowa Republican Party to look into this? Oh, sure. They are mad as anything that True stepped up and said something about the discrepancy, so you know it was on purpose, and the IRP will do anything to hush it up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 PM  

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