Minnesota caucus results: Rick Santorum wins

at 10:41 PM ET, 02/07/2012

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum won Minnesota’s caucuses Tuesday night — his second victory of the night, in the most hotly contested race of the day.

With 40 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum took 45.5 percent of the vote.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul also competed seriously in Minnesota, following his strategy of focusing on caucuses and states that allocate delegates proprotionally. He came in second with 26.8 percent of the vote.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney came in third with 16.6 percent of the vote — his first third-place finish of a cycle in which he has largely dominated.

Romney won Minnesota narrowly in 2008, with 41 percent of the vote. This time around he gave up on the state, appearing there only once. His defeat here, combined with his loss in Missouri’s beauty-contest primary, show that the race is not yet over.

While Santorum won’t win the state’s 40 delegates — it’s a non-binding caucus — the result gives him new momentum while damaging Romney.

Santorum visited Minnesota more than any other candidate. The state’s large evangelical population gave him a boost. In a marked shift, Romney began making explicit religious overtures and wading into contentious social issues on the trail over the past few days. But he was hammered by his rivals for supporting abortion rights and the distribution of emergency contraception in the past.

 
Read what others are saying