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I’m still here: Santorum snatches all three Tuesday state contests

In a surprising sweep, Santorum took the most votes in the Colorado caucuses, the Minnesota caucuses, and the Missouri primary.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 - 1:03 pm EST

February 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Former Senator Rick Santorum has proved that anyone thinking the GOP primary had come down to a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich underestimated him.

In a surprising sweep, Santorum took the most votes in the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, as well as the Missouri primary, where he beat his rivals by an easy 30-point margin. His finish with a 5-point lead in Colorado was perhaps the most surprising, as the state was widely expected to fall to Mitt Romney.

The sudden comeback after seeming to peak at a razor-thin victory in the Iowa caucuses marked another shift in a GOP primary race whose four remaining contenders continue striving to prove their longevity.

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“I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama,” Santorum, seen by many as the top pro-life candidate, told a crowd in Missouri Tuesday night.

Ron Paul, who also has a share of pro-life conservative loyalties, placed second with 27 percent in Minnesota, pushing Romney to third at 17 percent despite the latter’s endorsement from Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Santorum led the state at 45 percent.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, who has won only one out of the first five state contests, didn’t break third place in any of Tuesday’s contests. None of the candidates campaigned strongly in any of the states, some of which were less than serious: the real Missouri caucus is slated for next month.

Both Gingrich and Paul expressed optimism that victory would be secured with enough delegates to vote for them at the Republican national convention. Santorum gathered at least 28 delegates Tuesday night, bringing his total to 45; Romney currently leads with 107, Gingrich has 32, and Paul nine.

Mitt Romney congratulated Santorum for his “good night” on Tuesday. The former Massachusetts governor in recent days combated the rising threat from Santorum by attacking his stance in favor of congressional earmarks, and hinted in the hours before the caucuses that his own campaign didn’t expect to win every battle.

“I want to congratulate Sen. Santorum, but I expect to become the nominee with your help,” Romney told a crowd of supporters in Denver. A public memo from Romney’s political director noted that 2008 GOP nominee John McCain “lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents will notch a few wins, too.”

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  abortion, election 2012, rick santorum

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