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mitt romney on caucus night Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reaches for a supporters as his wife Ann looks one during a Romney for President Iowa Caucus night rally in Des Moines on January 3. (Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Election 2012: Romney Ekes Out a Win in Iowa

Rick Santorum a strong second, Ron Paul finishes third

UPDATE January 19, 2:40 p.m.: Today, the Iowa GOP certified the results of the Iowa caucus. In the final, certified vote count, Rick Santorum finished ahead of Mitt Romney by 34 votes. The final vote tally was 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney.

Even though these being the final official vote counts, the Iowa GOP said that a true accounting of the caucus vote might never be known. Votes from numerous precincts are missing will likely never be found.

Despite that, Romney called Santorum to concede defeat in Iowa, according to CNN.

Stay tuned to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps for more on this developing story.

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.): Representative Michele Bachmann suspended her campaign today after her disappointing showing in Iowa. Bachmann finished in sixth place, ahead of only Jon Huntsman.

"Thank you, thank you everyone," she told supporters in Des Moines today. "It’s been a wonderful ride."

Bachmann hasn't said if she'll endorse another Republican candidate still in the race.

The suspension of Bachmann's campaign  leaves six major candidates left in the Republican field: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman. Romney was in New Hampshire today, the site of the next primary. He received the endorsement of Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate for President.

Eight votes.

That was all that separated winner Mitt Romney and runner-up Rick Santorum in last night's Iowa caucus.

Caucus voting closed at 8:30 p.m. central time, and for most of the night Romney and Santorum were in a statistical tie. One county would report its votes and Romney would be in the lead. But then another county would report and Santorum would take over the top spot. This back and forth went on for hours until Romney was declared the winner early this morning.

"On to New Hampshire, let's get the job done," Romney told supporters last night before the final vote count was announced. "We're going to change the White House and get America back on track."

New Hampshire is the next state to cast primary votes. It holds its primary on January 10. Romney heads to the state as the winner of the Iowa caucus, but Santorum might have more momentum.

For most of the campaign, little attention has been paid to Santorum and his presidential ambitions. But in the days leading up to Iowa, the former Pennsylvania Senator found himself polling in third place behind Romney and Ron Paul.

Santorum focused most of his campaign's attention on Iowa, and his efforts paid off on caucus night. He surged ahead of Paul and was less than a dozen votes away from a victory.

"Let me tell you: What wins in America are bold ideas, sharp contrasts, and a plan that includes everyone," Santorum said. "We are off to New Hampshire. With your help and God's grace we'll have another fun night a week from now."

"Game on!" he added.

Ron Paul finished a strong third in caucus voting with 21.4 percent of the vote.

Paul's supporters had high hopes for at least a second place finish. He had been polling second before the caucus. But during his speech last night, the Texas representative said everyone should be proud of what they accomplished in Iowa.

"We will go on," Paul said. "There is nothing to be ashamed of."

Newt Gingrich finished in fourth place, followed by Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman.

Perry was planning on campaigning in South Carolina, the next primary after New Hampshire. But his fifth-place finish had him rethinking his plans.

"I've decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," Perry told supporters last night.

Bachmann was an early leader of the Republican pack. In August, she won the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, and she spent a lot of time in the state ahead of the caucus.

But when the votes were counted, she didn't carry any counties in Iowa and finished in sixth place. When she spoke to her supporters last night, she didn't give any indication about the future of her campaign.

"The people of Iowa have spoken, and they have written the very first chapter in this long campaign," Bachmann said. "There are many more paths to be written on the path to the nomination."

The next path leads to New Hampshire. The candidates will debate on January 8. This will be followed by the primary on January 10.


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