Posted on | January 3, 2012 | 72 Comments
UPDATE 2:30 a.m. CT: Well, I’ve hit my deadline for The American Spectator, and Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner has invited me to breakfast. All rest of the press corps have left the Stoney Brook here, except for a guy filing an article for a French magazine. And this will be my final update of the night/early morning. Here’s a picture of the candidate and his family:
They were accepting a gift from one of their Iowa supporters. And I want to thank all of our readers — and Smitty, and my wife — for helping make this trip possible. Here’s the obligatory photo of the National Affairs Desk:
I’m outta here. I’ll be flying out Thursday to New Hampshire. Hit the freaking tip jar!
UPDATE 12:20 a.m. CT: Finally collected the beer that Santorum’s Iowa field director Jake Braunger had promised me. That 24-year-old kid just became an American political legend. Not for buying me a beer, but for leading the grassroots army which — as of this point, with 99% of the precincts reporting — has Santorum winning with an 18-vote margin.
UPDATE 11:50 p.m. CT: Just got through with Senator Santor’s victory speech. Robert Costa of NRO and I were back by the door. The room was packed past fire-code capacity and the cops wouldn’t let anyone else in. That was when the New York Times photographer showed up and tried to get past the cops.
No way, the cops wouldn’t yield. “But … I’m from the New York Times.”
The cops didn’t care. Nobody was getting past them.
A triumph for The Rule of Law in the American Heartland.
And I remember when Santorum couldn’t get any national media coverage except . . . Well, me.
UPDATE 10:53 p.m. CT: Rick Perry just began his concession speech — a humiliating fifth-place finish for the former front-runner. Can’t hear the TV here in the Loose Moose Saloon, so I’m not sure, but I think he started his speech with four words: “Howdy. Thank you, Erick.”
UPDATE 10:45 p.m. CT: Gingrich and Bachmann have given their concession speeches. When will Mitt Romney give the speech admitting that he just got beat by Rick Santorum, a guy who spent a mere fraction of what the perennial front-runner spent? The natives here are getting restless waiting for the victory speech, and I’ve got an editor in Washington, D.C., waiting for me to file a column tonight.
Best thing about being a U.S. ambassador, I’m told: There are no deadlines in the diplomatic corps. Hit the freaking tip jar!
UPDATE 10:10 p.m. CT: Ron Paul just conceded. He’ll finish third. Here at Santorum Victory HQ, a campaign spokesman just did a mike-check at the party: “Let’s just say that Senator Santorum is in high spirits.” A speech by the man of the hour is expected shortly. The scene inside the big room:
I’ll have to go wedge myself into that room, if I’m gonna get video. So it will be a few minutes before I can update again.
UPDATE 9:27 p.m. CT: Results with 49% of precincts:
Rick Santorum …. 13,594 (24%)
Mitt Romney …… 13,204 (24%)
Ron Paul …………. 12,205 (22%)
Newt Gingrich ….. 7,426 (13%)
Rick Perry ……….. 5,544 (10%)
Bachmann ………… 3,140 (6%)
Santorum now has more votes than Gingrich and Perry combined.
UPDATE 9:20 p.m. CT: Demonstrating the power of Rick Santorum to bring America together, I have just revoked all my previous threats to whup David Brooks’s ass:
Good-bye, grassroots populist street cred! Hello, Vanuatu!
UPDATE 8:55 p.m. CT: The latest with 31% of precincts:
Mitt Romney …… 7,844 (23%)
Rick Santorum …. 7,726 (23%)
Ron Paul …………. 7,655 (23%)
Newt Gingrich ….. 4,440 (13%)
Rick Perry ……….. 3,433 (10%)
Bachmann …………. 1,922 (6%)
Just bumped into a member of Santorum’s South Carolina organization — y’know, the organization that all the Smart Guy pundits keep saying Santorum doesn’t have — who said to me: “Vanuatu’s looking pretty good now, huh?”
Yeah. They read my stuff.
(9:15 p.m. CT: Smitty compiled the following aggregation of links.)
Nate Silver: “Why I’d Bet on Santorum (and Against My Model)”
Our model is more optimistic about Mr. Santorum than those of other objective forecasting systems, which give him about 16 percent of the vote. The reason is that our model gives extra credit to Mr. Santorum for his momentum in the closing days of the campaign. But there is some reason to think that it is still giving Mr. Santorum too little credit.
The momentum factor in our model is derived from an analysis of competitive primaries and caucuses throughout the country since 1980. It does not contain any Iowa-specific variables, although it does recognize that polling in Iowa and other early-voting states tends to be more erratic than polling in later-voting states.
There is reason to think, however, that momentum might be especially important in Iowa.
Erick Erickson: “What if Santorum Wins?”
If Santorum wins, a lot of people will be correct in saying Mitt Romney is still a winner because Santorum has no money or real organization to go beyond Iowa.
But my God in Heaven, the media is finally going to be confronted with an “Emperor Has No Clothes” moment on Romney too. That remains the most under reported story of 2012. Mitt Romney, campaigning since 2006 for President has managed to go from 23% to 23% in six years.
The Hill: “Ron Paul supporters heckle Santorum“:
Rick Santorum was heckled by Ron Paul supporters as he left a high school in West Des Moines on Tuesday. The crowd chanted “Big-spending Rick” and “nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye.” When The Hill asked Santorum what he thought of the crowd as they began chanting, he paused, smiled tightly and said “It’s the crowd at the caucuses that matters.”
UPDATE 8:32 p.m. CT: The latest numbers, with 24% of precincts reporting:
Ron Paul …………. 6,067
Rick Santorum …. 6,060
Mitt Romney …… 6,018
I hereby demand a personal apology from everyone who ever said that either Gingrich or Perry were the only candidates who could stop Romney.
* * * PREVIOUSLY (7 p.m. CT) * * *
Greetings from the beautiful Stoney Creek Inn, scene of tonight’s Rick Santorum victory party. It is now 7 p.m. CT, which means that Iowa Republicans have just assembled in precinct caucus locations across the Hawkeye State where they will cast the ballots that will determine the
GOP nomination next President of the United States destiny of the Free World fate of all humanity.
If you’re in Iowa tonight, it’s important that you come to the beautiful Stoney Creek Inn so you can celebrate Rick Santorum’s victory and also, incidentally, buy me beers.
If you’re not in Iowa tonight, we will be bringing you all the news and results from tonight’s contest, the results of which are impossible to predict beyond the fact — a Neutral Objective Fact — that Rick Santorum will crush all rivals like Godzilla stomped Tokyo. And you’ll want to refresh the site throughout the night for continuous updates as soon as these dadgum Iowa voters decide whether they want to
A. Vote for Rick Santorum, the Only Man Who Can Save America From Another Four Years of Barack Obama™;
B. Sell their souls to the GOP Establishment by voting for the Worst RINO in the History of RINO-dom.
C. Cast a protest vote against the “Israel lobby,” IYKWIMAITYD; or
D. Waste their votes on some doomstruck loser.
You may disagree with that assessment, but it’s as valid as Joy McCann’s ridiculous arguments on behalf of one of those doomstruck losers.
UPDATE 7:44 p.m. CT: Bad news. Rick Santorum Victory Celebration has . . . a cash bar.
I just told the lady I should be covering the the Romney campaign, where I’m sure the press gets all the free booze they want.
UPDATE 7:54 p.m. CT: A couple of photos:
Campaign manager Mike Biundo, who just gave an impromptu press conference here at the Loose Moose Saloon, which is where the press filing center is located. Zeke Miller of Buzz Feed Politics supplies the quotes. (I figure the junior members of the press corps do the transcription.)
The first results on TV showed a neck-and-neck tie, with Santorum actually leading and, when I said, “Santorum leading!” Somebody in the press filing center said, “Four percent” — the percentage of precincts reporting. To which I replied, “Don’t harsh my mellow, man.”
UPDATE 8:20 p.m. CT: Guess who showed up at Santorum HQ? The guy who’s been badmouthing Santorum for days:
The latest Iowa returns show Rick Perry a weak fifth place, barely 10% in Iowa. “Howdy. Thank you, Erick.”