Final Iowa tally gives Santorum edge over Romney; because of missing votes, no winner declared

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January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The final results of the Iowa caucuses are in and there’s a change at the top: Rick Santorum edged Mitt Romney by 34 votes.  Romney had been considered the winner after initial tallies gave him an 8 vote advantage.  Despite the surprise flip, Iowa’s Republican party is not naming an official winner, because results from 8 of the state’s nearly 1,800 precincts are missing.

GOP Chairman Matt Strawn says he’s congratulating both Santorum and Romney, as he did the day after Iowa’s caucuses. Strawn describes it as “the closest contest in caucus history.” In a statement, Romney praised Santorum’s “strong performance” in Iowa, but called the results a “virtual tie.” Santorum and other candidates are looking to chip away at the front-running Romney’s dominance over the field when South Carolina primary voters go to the polls Saturday.