Posted at 08:42 AM ET, 01/17/2012

Rick Santorum still holding out hope for an Iowa win, two weeks after caucuses

A full two weeks after Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, Rick Santorum is hoping for a win ... in Iowa.


Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
The former Pennsylvania senator told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity after Monday night’s debate that he believes his campaign may be able to nudge former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) out of the top spot in the Hawkeye State once the final results are certified by the state Republican Party.

“We’re still hoping for some good news out of Iowa,” Santorum said.

Romney bested Santorum by eight votes in the unofficial Iowa vote tally for the Jan. 3 caucuses. But those results have yet to be certified – and as The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported Monday night, Santorum could end up having the edge in the final count:

The final numbers will be different from those released on caucus night. One campaign source says the vote count as of midday Monday showed Santorum ahead by 80-something votes. If that number holds through certification of the last precincts, Santorum will win. Of course, there is always the possibility that some of the final precincts will contain discrepancies that put Romney back on top. It’s just not clear.

If Santorum does come out on top, that would mean that Romney did not in fact make history by becoming the first GOP presidential hopeful to win both Iowa and the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

It also would mean – at least in Team Santorum’s view – that Romney’s “inevitability argument” will have been blunted.

But when it comes to Romney’s chances in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Jan. 21, a win by Santorum in Iowa isn’t likely to alter the calculus much.

Romney is currently the frontrunner in the first-in-the-South state, and Santorum has to contend with other candidates such as former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) who are wooing the state’s social conservatives.

Still, Santorum said Monday that he remains hopeful and is planning on continuing his campaign after South Carolina.

“We’re building a strong coalition, getting people to turn to our campaign, and we know that’s going to continue to happen,” Santorum told Hannity.

By  |  08:42 AM ET, 01/17/2012

 
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