Live-Blog: Iowa's 2012 Republican Caucuses

As results came in from Tuesday evening's dramatic Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, we highlighted the latest news and developments in this live-blog. Read through to see how it was a three-way battle between Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum most of the evening — and then a neck-and-neck competition for the top spot between Romney and Santorum. The results set up some fascinating competitions in coming weeks, starting with next Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire. Join us for those, when we'll be live-blogging again.

  • Update: The final tally came down to eight votes. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Republican officials announced early Wednesday. Jan 4 2012, 2:50am
  • One thing's for sure: It's been an incredible evening for political junkies as Iowa's Republican presidential caucuses ended in a virtual tie between former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- with Rep. Ron Paul not far behind in third. We followed the news as it happened. Read along to see how the dramatic story unfolded. Jan 4 2012, 1:06am
  • And there will be headlines saying it was a major coup for Rep. Ron Paul, who doubled the support he got in Iowa four years ago. Jan 4 2012, 1:05am
  • Headlines are surely going to say that it was a big night for Mitt Romney, who until recent weeks hadn't been pushing hard to compete in the Hawkeye State. Jan 4 2012, 1:04am
  • Headlines are surely going to say that it was a big night for Rick Santorum, who came from far behind just days ago. Jan 4 2012, 1:03am
  • Well, it looks like it will be down to just a few votes -- and that we may not know until morning (or later) the exact number that went to Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. Jan 4 2012, 1:01am
  • Votes are now counted from 99% of the precincts and Rick Santorum is 34 ahead of Mitt Romney, The Associated Press says. Jan 4 2012, 12:55am
  • "On to New Hampshire. Let's get that job done," Mitt Romney says as he wraps up his comments to supporters. Jan 4 2012, 12:50am
  • This election, Mitt Romney tells supporters, is "about the soul of America." Jan 4 2012, 12:46am
  • Mitt Romney turns his attention to President Obama, saying he's made it "harder for businesses to grow and hire and put people back to work." And when Romney says this will be the president's "only term," his supporters shout their approval. Jan 4 2012, 12:44am
  • Before he finished his remarks, Rick Santorum also said: "Obama talks about people who cling to their guns and their bibles. Thank God they do." Jan 4 2012, 12:41am
  • "Congratulations to Rick Santorum," Mitt Romney just said. "It's been a great victory for him ... and a great victory for us." Jan 4 2012, 12:40am
  • 5 votes: That's what now separates Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. Jan 4 2012, 12:32am
  • Addressing the idea that Mitt Romney might be more electable that he is, Rick Santorum says "what wins in America are bold ideas, sharp contrasts and a plan that includes everyone." Jan 4 2012, 12:29am
  • They've switched places again: Mitt Romney is now 41 votes ahead of Rick Santorum, with 98 percent of precincts reporting. Jan 4 2012, 12:26am
  • Report -- McCain to endorse Romney on Wednesday, BuzzFeed says: (link) Jan 4 2012, 12:24am
  • His "best friend, my life mate," said Santorum, "is my wife Karen." And with that, they shared a kiss. Jan 4 2012, 12:20am
  • Rick Santorum just began his address to supporters by quoting C.S. Lewis: "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words." Jan 4 2012, 12:19am
  • Rick Santorum just e-mailed supporters to say "I am the only authentic, passionate conservative who can unite the GOP" and in a not-very-veiled reference to Mitt Romney said "now is the time to act or get stuck with a bland, boring career politician who will lose to Barack Obama." Jan 4 2012, 12:07am
  • Perry To "Assess" His Candidacy: "I've decided to return to Texas and assess the results of tonight's caucus," Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who came in fifth, tells supporters. Translation: He may drop out. Jan 3 2012, 11:58pm
  • According to the Iowa GOP, two counties appear to still have significant numbers of votes to report. Mitt Romney has small leads in both: 31% to 25% for Rick Santorum in Dubuque County and 27% to Ron Paul's 26% in Story County. (link) Jan 3 2012, 11:52pm
  • No contender has conceded anything this evening. Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all look to be headed on to other contests. Jan 3 2012, 11:42pm
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann, who finished sixth: "The process worked. It's the people of Iowa who chose tonight," not pundits. And she says she's still looking ahead to the time when "another Michele" is in the White House. Jan 3 2012, 11:35pm
  • Every one of Iowa's 99 counties has now reported at least some votes, according to the Iowa GOP. The Associated Press says 93% of precincts are accounted for. And Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney by 99 votes. (link) Jan 3 2012, 11:31pm
  • It's like a NASCAR race and they're drafting off each other: Santorum now ahead of Romney by 72 votes. Jan 3 2012, 11:26pm
  • When Ron Paul earlier told supporters "we're all Austrians now," he was referring to a school of economics and his admiration for Friedrich Hayek: (link) Jan 3 2012, 11:23pm
  • Newt Gingrich just congratulated Rick Santorum for waging a "positive campaign" and said that others -- an obvious reference to Mitt Romney -- hadn't done that. He also congratulated Ron Paul, but said the congressman's views on foreign policy are "stunningly dangerous." Jan 3 2012, 11:21pm
  • 92% of precincts reporting and Mitt Romney leads Rick Santorum by 13 votes, The Associated Press says. Jan 3 2012, 11:19pm
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has vowed to continue his campaign, The Associated Press reports. "While grabbing a snack at his hotel coffee shop," the wire service writes, Gingrich said he needs just two weeks to rebuild his lead. Jan 3 2012, 11:15pm
  • There were "essentially three winners," Ron Paul tells his supporters. Jan 3 2012, 11:11pm
  • Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who looks like he came in third, just told cheering supporters that they've helped reinvigorate a "real old-fashioned idea" -- obeying the Constitution. Jan 3 2012, 11:08pm
  • Turnout update: It now looks like the number of GOP caucusgoers will be close to 2008's 120,000. Jan 3 2012, 11:07pm
  • Thirteen votes separate Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, with 88% of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. Jan 3 2012, 11:00pm
  • Just six counties haven't reported any votes yet, according to the Iowa GOP. (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:59pm
  • Turnout: It looks like about 110,000 Iowa Republicans came to the caucuses this year. That's down a bit from around 120,000 in 2008. Jan 3 2012, 10:55pm
  • And then they're tied again -- Iowa GOP puts the shares at: Romney, 25%; Santorum, 25%; Paul, 21%. (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:50pm
  • New numbers from the Iowa GOP: Mitt Romney, 25%; Rick Santorum, 24%; Ron Paul, 21%. About 79 percent of precincts have reported, according to The Associated Press. (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:48pm
  • Meanwhile, if Ron Paul's share stays just above 20% he will have about doubled his percentage from 2008, when he got around 10% of caucusgoers' votes. (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:44pm
  • If Mitt Romney's share stays around 24%, he will have collected just about the same percentage as he received in 2008, when he finished second in the caucuses. (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:42pm
  • At least some things are becoming clear: "Fox News Projects Gingrich in Fourth, Perry in Fifth in Iowa Caucuses." That would put Rep. Michele Bachmann in 6th. (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:36pm
  • Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum could all come out now and claim victory because each has exceeded expectations in at least one way, NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving just said on the air. Jan 3 2012, 10:32pm
  • Half of Iowa's 1,774 precincts have reported and according to The Associated Press it's: Rick Santorum, 24.3%; Mitt Romney, 23.6%; Ron Paul, 21.8%. Newt Gingrich is 4th with 13.3%. Jan 3 2012, 10:28pm
  • Obama Predicts "Big Battle": In his message to Iowa Democrats, who also caucused tonight, President Obama said of the campaign that "it's going to be a big battle. I hope you guys are geared up. I'm excited." (link) Jan 3 2012, 10:22pm
  • 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Fox News: "Iowa has done an awesome job of vetting these candidates." Jan 3 2012, 10:08pm
  • Draw straws? How do you break a three-way tie? Paul, Romney and Santorum remain neck and neck and neck. Rock, paper, scissors wouldn't seem to work. Jan 3 2012, 10:07pm
  • Entrance polls suggest "most Santorum supporters say they made up their minds about who to support in just the last few days, with as many as a quarter saying they decided to back him just today," Pew's Mike Dimock says. Jan 3 2012, 9:57pm
  • Ron Paul's support is again coming "heavily from younger voters," Pew's Mike Dimock tells NPR after looking at "entrance polls." And about half describe themselves as "independents." Jan 3 2012, 9:55pm
  • Other results at this moment, according to the Iowa GOP: Newt Gingrich, 13%; Gov. Rick Perry, 10%; Rep. Michele Bachmann, 6%. (link) Jan 3 2012, 9:43pm
  • 23-23-23: Latest percentages for Romney, Paul and Santorum. (link) Jan 3 2012, 9:37pm
  • Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has so far declined to endorse a presidential contender, just told NPR it would be "rather less than courageous" for him to do so now that Iowa Republicans have voted. His endorsement was coveted by most of the candidates. Jan 3 2012, 9:32pm
  • Linn County, which includes Cedar Rapids, continues to have the most votes counted (about 4,200 now). There, Mitt Romney now has about 26% of the vote. Ron Paul has 24%. Rick Santorum has 21%. Results from Iowa GOP: (link) Jan 3 2012, 9:18pm
  • Entrance polls suggest Mitt Romney's supporters in Iowa were "middle aged and older" than other caucusgoers, Washington Post/Brookings analyst E.J. Dionne says on the NPR broadcast. Jan 3 2012, 9:12pm
  • Nearly 50 of Iowa's 99 counties have now reported at least some results from the GOP caucuses, and the top three remain the same: Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum. And they remain basically tied. (link) Jan 3 2012, 9:07pm
  • NPR's broadcast coverage is now live on member stations and here: (link) Jan 3 2012, 9:04pm
  • The Associated Press is starting to move vote counts as well. With 6 percent of precincts reporting: Santorum, Paul and Romney are virtually tied. Jan 3 2012, 8:59pm
  • Linn County has the most votes counted so far -- 1,594. There, Ron Paul leads with 27%. Mitt Romney's at 23%. Rick Santorum is at 21%. (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:55pm
  • Another way to watch the vote count -- the Iowa GOP has numbers here: (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:53pm
  • Snap! Ron Paul's campaign tweaks Jon Huntsman on Twitter: "we found your one Iowa voter, he's in Linn precinct 5 you might want to call him and say thanks." (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:48pm
  • Republican caucuses in 22 counties have reported at least some results, the Iowa GOP says. Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are in the top 3 at this moment. (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:45pm
  • According to Pew Research analysts who have looked at the entrance poll data, about a third of the GOP caucusoers surveyed said the quality they're looking for most in a candidate is the ability to defeat President Obama in November. Jan 3 2012, 8:42pm
  • Very, very, very early results are starting to show up at the Iowa Republican Party's website: (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:30pm
  • A caveat on the "entrance polls": As The New York Times says, because the campaigns work hard to get their supporters to the caucuses early, the poll results may overly reflect the opinions of the very committed caucusgoers. (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:28pm
  • Karen Santorum also said of her husband, Rick: "There’s nothing more beautiful than a man who is on his knees praying with a family." Faith, she said, is "the glue that holds our family together." Jan 3 2012, 8:25pm
  • More from the "entrance polls" (via CNN): Rick Santorum got the most support (26%) among conservatives; Mitt Romney got the most support (30%) among those who consider themselves "somewhat conservative;" Ron Paul got the most support (40%) among those who see themselves as "moderates or liberals." (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:23pm
  • Families are the "foundation of a strong society" in candidate Rick Santorum's opinion, his wife Karen tells caucusgoers in Urbandale. (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:18pm
  • Supporters of each candidate are now making their cases at the caucuses. In Urbandale, a Ron Paul supporter just told those gathered that "something has to change ... we can't keep doing what we kept doing for the last 20 years" and that Paul can bring that change. Via C-SPAN: (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:14pm
  • Meanwhile: President Obama's re-election campaign sent a video to Iowa supporters today and he will be speaking to them via teleconference. (link) Jan 3 2012, 8:09pm
  • More on the "entrance poll": "The survey by Edison Media Research for The Associated Press and television networks was based on interviews with more than 600 people arriving at nearly 40 precinct caucuses across the state," the AP says. Jan 3 2012, 8:05pm
  • "Entrance polls" done for the National Election Pool of media organizations as caucusgoers arrived at their meetings signal that those in the "top tier" of candidates are Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, CNN reports. That's consistent with recent polls. Jan 3 2012, 8:02pm
  • As results come in, the Iowa Republican Party says it will post them here: (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:58pm
  • Meanwhile: "Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman has a message for whoever wins the Iowa caucuses," The Associated Press says. Huntsman's line: "Welcome to New Hampshire. Nobody cares." He chose not to do much campaigning in Iowa. Jan 3 2012, 7:54pm
  • Reminder: Caucuses begin at 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET). So things are about to get started. Jan 3 2012, 7:52pm
  • "Iowa" and "#iacaucus" are starting to trend on Twitter -- another measure of the interest in tonight's news. So is "Banana Republic," which rose after Rep. Michele Bachmann's use of the term (see our earlier post). (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:50pm
  • C-SPAN just flipped the switch to broadcast and webcast the caucus at the Gloria Del Lutheran Church in Urbandale. Click here to watch: (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:47pm
  • If you're just joining us, welcome to our live updates on the news from Iowa, where Republicans are caucusing tonight and will soon cast the first meaningful votes of the 2012 presidential campaign. Scroll down and click "more updates" to see our earlier posts. And stay with us through the evening to see what happens. Jan 3 2012, 7:41pm
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to caucus-goers in Cedar Rapids: "I am the only candidate who worked with Ronald Reagan to turn around the economy." Jan 3 2012, 7:39pm
  • A tip for political junkies from The Fix blog at The Washington Post: "6 counties to watch." (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:38pm
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to caucus-goers in Cedar Rapids: "Barack Obama continues to treat us like we are a third-world banana republic!" Jan 3 2012, 7:35pm
  • Iowa's Biggest Caucus Site: It's the Uni-Dome in Cedar Rapids, where "people from nearly 50 precincts from Waterloo and Cedar Falls gather," according to The Des Moines Register. (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:31pm
  • In DeWitt, Iowa: "People walking into Central High School ... are asked 'Game or caucus?' Girls hoops tonight," says The Quad City Times. (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:27pm
  • Weather Won't Be An Issue: KCCI-TV in Des Moines reports that weather across Iowa is "quiet" this evening and that temperatures should stay in the low 30s as caucus time (8 p.m. ET) comes and goes. (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:10pm
  • Historical note: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the 2008 GOP caucuses in Iowa. He did not go on to win his party's presidential nomination. That honor went to Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Jan 3 2012, 7:07pm
  • Looking to get some attention on a day when the focus is on Republicans, President Obama's campaign buys prominent ad space on The Des Moines Register's website: (link) Jan 3 2012, 7:05pm
  • Herman Cain, who dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination last month, tells CNN he has no plans just yet to endorse one of his former rivals. (link) Jan 3 2012, 6:55pm
  • If you're just joining us, welcome to our live updates on the news from Iowa, where Republicans are caucusing tonight and will cast the first meaningful votes of the 2012 presidential campaign. Click "more updates" to see our earlier posts. And stay with us through the evening to see what happens. Jan 3 2012, 6:44pm
  • History lesson: As NPR's Political Junkie, Ken Rudin, points out, the winner of the Iowa caucuses doesn't always go on to be the Republican presidential nominee. (link) Jan 3 2012, 6:42pm
  • For more on how the Republican and Democratic caucuses work, The Des Moines Register has an interactive graphic: (link) Jan 3 2012, 6:39pm
  • The Iowa Republican Party has more about the caucus process here: (link) Jan 3 2012, 6:27pm
  • When the speeches are over, everyone at the GOP caucuses will get a piece of paper. They each write down the name of the candidate they support. Votes are counted. And the meetings conclude. Jan 3 2012, 6:26pm
  • After the pledge, each GOP caucus will elect a chairman and a secretary. Then, "candidate representatives" from each campaign (and in a few places, the candidates themselves) will have a few minutes to speak. Jan 3 2012, 6:24pm
  • The first order of business at the GOP caucuses: Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Jan 3 2012, 6:23pm
  • Reminder: The caucuses begin at 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET). If all goes as planned, most will take about an hour. Jan 3 2012, 6:22pm
  • The latest lede from The Associated Press looks ahead to what's next after Iowa: "After weathering a full-on assault in Iowa, Newt Gingrich and his allies planned Tuesday to hit back hard at rival Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential campaign pushed east. "The first salvo was a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader that was to appear as Gingrich touched down in the state early Wednesday." Jan 3 2012, 6:13pm
  • Also for history buffs: C-SPAN first covered the caucuses in 1984. It has video of Democrats from that year. (link) Jan 3 2012, 6:05pm
  • Some notes for history buffs: Iowa marketing consultant John Stineman tweets that "Closest finish? '80 GHW Bush 31.62% to REAGAN 29.56%. 2nd closest: '96 Dole 26.31% to Buchanan 23.34%." (link) Jan 3 2012, 6:04pm
  • Also on All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro said Mitt Romney's campaign has been "surprised that they're competitive here" since the former Massachusetts governor had, until recently, not been campaigning hard in the state. (link) Jan 3 2012, 5:59pm
  • On All Things Considered this evening, NPR's Don Gonyea said one of the key tasks for the campaigns today has been "making sure those who like you know where they're supposed to go" from among the 1,774 precincts, and what time they need to get to the caucuses. (link) Jan 3 2012, 5:58pm
  • From the latest NPR.org report: "Polls show the race in Iowa has narrowed to a three-man contest among former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum." (link) Jan 3 2012, 5:50pm
  • NPR's It's All Politics blog, by the way, has a "quick guide to the caucuses." (link) Jan 3 2012, 5:46pm
  • And, yes, Democrats will be caucusing as well -- in what President Obama's re-election campaign hopes will effectively be pep rallies and dry runs for his November get-out-the-vote effort. (link) Jan 3 2012, 5:45pm
  • Join us as we post live updates throughout the evening. The caucuses get going at 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET). Jan 3 2012, 5:44pm
  • And will the results mean the end for one or more candidates' bids for the White House? Jan 3 2012, 5:44pm
  • Who will come away with the most votes? Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney? Rep. Ron Paul of Texas? Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum? One of the other GOP contenders? Jan 3 2012, 5:43pm
  • Good evening. The first meaningful votes of the 2012 presidential campaign are set to be cast tonight in Iowa, where Hawkeye State Republicans are caucusing. Jan 3 2012, 5:42pm

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.