Mitt Romney eked out a narrow victory in last night’s GOP caucuses in Iowa, beating second-place finisher Rick Santorum by just 8 votes. Romney is touting the outcome as a major win, taking a victory lap on various TV news programs this morning. “It’s been a great victory for us here,” Romney said last night, “And thank you, Iowa, for the great send off you’re giving us.”
But there should perhaps be a small asterisks next to his win, as Romney was unable to hold every vote he won in Iowa during his failed 2008 bid for the presidency. That year, Romney earned 30,021 votes. This year, he captured 30,015 — 6 fewer than four years ago. That, despite record turnout of 122,255 votes cast last night, up slightly from 119,188 in 2008.
After his second-place finish in 2008 to Mike Huckabee, “Romney left Iowa spooked and scorned after squandering $10 million and finishing a debilitating second. Romney never quite understood Iowa. And Iowa, it turned out, never quite understood Romney,” the Washington Post noted. Romney invested far less money and organization in the state this year, but one has to wonder if Romney being nearly bested by an insurgent social conservative in Iowa is history repeating itself.