Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Finishes Ahead Of Mitt Romney: Iowa Caucus Results

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More than two weeks after the 2012 Iowa caucus, a final certified tally showed former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum finishing with 29,839 votes and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 29,805.

After the initial results came in following the Jan. 3 Iowa event, Romney was believed to have won the caucus by a mere 8 votes.

Republican officials indicated Santorum finished ahead of Romney by 34 votes on Thursday. The Des Moines Register reports that votes from eight precincts will never be counted, however, and therefore the ultimate tally remains inconclusive.

HuffPost's Elise Foley reports:

Officials found inaccurate counts in 131 precincts, including one that had an error by 50 votes, the Des Moines Register reported on Thursday.

Chad Olsen, the party’s executive director, told the Register that the results showed "a split decision." The final tallies, exempting the eight precincts that will not be tallied, were 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney, according to the Register.

The Santorum campaign said the change in results could change the narrative of Romney as a frontrunner.

"The narrative for a long time has been that Mitt Romney was 2-0," Spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN on Thursday. "And if these results are true and Rick is ahead by 34 votes, then that's not the narrative anymore. There have been two states, two different victors."

Romney didn't appear to agree.

"The results from Iowa caucus night revealed a virtual tie," Romney said in a statement after the certification of the results. "I would like to thank the Iowa Republican Party for their careful attention to the caucus process, and we once again recognize Rick Santorum for his strong performance in the state."

Santorum's campaign shot back after these comments, suggesting that Romney was being immature in his response.

"He sounds like a kid who didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday so he smashed the cake,” Santorum strategist and adviser John Brabender told ABC News. "In New Hampshire, Sen. Santorum called Mitt Romney and congratulated him. Romney should have the dignity, honor, and character to call and congratulate us on our win in Iowa."

UPDATE:

CNN reports that Romney placed a call to Santorum's campaign to concede in Iowa. Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN that Romney was very "polite."