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Iowa Caucus 2012 Winners And Losers (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/04/2012 1:46 am

With the results of the Iowa caucuses now in, we can begin to assess whether the GOP candidates' strategies have paid off.

For some, it's been all about developing a framework in Iowa that could, at least, prolong their campaigns, and, at most, provide them with valuable momentum going into other, arguably more important, primary contests.

Republican candidates aren't the only ones who will feel the effects of the first event in a lengthy primary season. Candidates and outside groups broke new ground in Iowa, blanketing the airwaves in massive ad buys that often took direct aim at primary rivals. The power of attacks ads became more pronounced than ever, bolstered by millions of dollars in expenditures by outside groups.

The GOP hopefuls now turn toward New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on Tuesday, Jan. 10. With some contenders down, but not out, all candidates not named Romney must now work double time to remain relevant. And while they forge ahead, there is another candidate watching it all play out from the White House.

Scroll through the slideshow below for a list of the biggest winners and losers of the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

WINNER: Rick Santorum
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There is always plenty of discussion about how meaningful a strong performance in Iowa is, and these same arguments will likely be recycled to analyze Santorum's second-place finish on Tuesday. Regardless, Santorum's surge was by no means an inevitable outcome. He hitched the entire fate of his campaign to Iowa early on, but his enthusiastic tour around the state took a long time to return results. Santorum spent the majority of the pre-caucus campaign underpowered in fundraising and overlooked in polling, but a late swell propelled him to the top tier of GOP candidates in Iowa.

The bounce may have helped his fundraising, but it also put him in the crosshairs of his GOP rivals, who were also vying for top billing in the state. As his Iowa finish proves, he managed to weather those attacks. And while Santorum's brand of conservatism may not play in New Hampshire or future primaries, his strength in Iowa will at least give the sweater-vested former senator some much-needed momentum going into the heart of primary season.
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Filed by Nick Wing  |