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rick santorum in missouri Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at his primary night rally at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri, on February 7. (Photo: REUTERS/Sarah Conard)

Election 2012: A Sweep for Rick Santorum

Wins in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota gives candidacy new momentum

By Annie Secker | null null , null

Voters in three states cast their ballots in the Republican primary on Tuesday. And in all three races Rick Santorum was victorious.

In the Minnesota caucus, Santorum won with 44.8 percent of the vote. Ron Paul finished second with 27.2 percent, followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

In Colorado, Santorum won with 40.8 percent of the vote. Romney was a close second with 34.9 percent, followed by Gingrich and Paul.

By winning those caucuses, Santorum picked up crucial delegates as he battles Romney for the Republican nomination.

But the Missouri primary was non-binding. So even though Santorum won with a commanding 55.2 percent of the vote, he wins no delegates. Missouri will award its delegates when the state caucuses in March.

Santorum's victories were his first since narrowly winning the Iowa caucus in January.

After the results from Tuesday's elections were announced, Santorum met with supporters in St. Charles, Missouri.

"I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," Santorum said. "I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama."

Going into Tuesday's elections, Romney had won back-to-back elections in Florida and Nevada. He was the first candidate in 2012 to win two elections in a row, and he was looking to put the race further out of the reach of his competitors.

Santorum's victories in Colorado and Minnesota took some of the wind out of Romney's sails.

"We definitely are the campaign with the momentum, the enthusiasm on the ground," Santorum told CNN.

Santorum has two weeks until the next primaries to use his victories to raise more money and attract new supporters. Arizona and Michigan will head to the polls on February 28.

February 7, 2012

The voters of Missouri head to the polls today. But this primary is a little different.

The Missouri primary is what's known as non-binding. That means whoever wins the primary will win zero delegates. Missouri will hold a caucus on March 17, and that vote will award delegates to a candidate. Delegates are what a candidate needs to win their party's nomination. The Republican candidate who wins 1144 delegates will be the Republican nominee for President.

Despite the odd nature of the Missouri primary, it has attracted candidates to the state. Last Friday Rick Santorum came to Lee's Summit to meet supporters and voters.

It was an enthusiastic crowd. Officials estimated nearly 700 people were at the rally, which was held at John Knox Village.

In his speech, Santorum told the enthusiastic crowd he thought that this was the most important election of our lifetime. What's at stake, Santorum said, was what kind of country we will be.

He talked a lot about health care reform — especially how he would repeal President Barack Obama's health care plan. He also described the Constitution as an operations manual for America. Santorum said he believes the Constitution is such an important document that he always carries a copy of the Constitution with him.

Tom Lehman was one of the people at Santorum's rally. Lehman told me that he thought Santorum's most important qualities are that "he's conservative and he has been consistent."

Missouri State Senator Will Kraus from District 8 was also at the rally. He said that he thought that the most important issues that people would vote for would be the economy and jobs.

Senator Kraus added that he did not agree with Santorum on every issue. But like Lehman, the Senator said that Santorum was a "consistent conservative."

After the event, Santorum took time to answer questions from the media. I asked him if he had a historical role model. He told me his historical role models were George Washington and Ronald Reagan.

Voters will also caucus in Colorado and Minnesota today. Those votes will be binding, and whoever wins will be awarded delegates.


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