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Santorum is Crowned Mr. Missouri in Republican 'Beauty Contest'

Santorum more than doubles Romney's vote total; however primary victory doesn't mean Missouri is his.

If Tuesday’s presidential primary was nothing but a Republican beauty contest, then Rick Santorum was crowned Mr. Missouri and Mr. Congeniality. Santorum cruised to an easy 30-percentage point win over Mitt Romney, and received more than half the Republican vote in the state.

“Conservatism is alive in Missouri and Minnesota,” Santorum told the crowd attending his .

“I hope you have been listening to our message. Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama,” Santorum said in his victory speech.

Santorum said he isn’t claiming to be the conservative alternative to Romney, but he is claiming to be the conservative alternative to Obama.

With 99.6 percent of the precincts reporting, the totals were:

  • Rick Santorum         138,680 (55.2%)
  • Mitt Romney              63,709 (25.3%)
  • Ron Paul                    30,582 (12.2%)

Santorum’s recent visits to , Hannibal and Columbia may have spurred his popularity state and led to his victory.

The crowd at Santorum’s victory party at the St. Charles Convention Center chanted, “Rick, Rick, Rick,” after CNN declared Santorum the winner in a landslide. Although the “real” winner of Missouri will be decided at countywide on March 17, the primary win certainly puts wind in the sails for Santorum.

Sentiment for Santorum

Paul Gewalt, a veteran from Creve Coeur, said he voted for Rick Santorum because he thinks it’s good for the candidate to keep pushing issues.

“I'm very much (more) pro-gun than Ron Paul is, I think,” Gewalt said after casting his vote. “I'm not real happy about Romney just because of his commitment to Massachusetts-care—Romney-care if you will—and how I think that's going to play out if he goes against Obama. I think that's going to be a real hurdle to cross.”

Gewalt also said that, as a Catholic, he believes President Barack Obama has thrown down the gauntlet. A federal requirement advanced by the Obama administration rules that all employers must provide contraceptives through their health insurance coverage, even those run by religious organizations.

Pam James, of O’Fallon, said she voted for Santorum because she likes his conviction on the issues.

“I think tonight will be a game changer for him,” James said. “If he could win two, I think people will start seeing him as a contender and that it’s not a two-man race.”

Gingrich-less Race for Rick

Romney, fresh off victories in Florida and Nevada, mostly ignored the Missouri primary. Newt Gingrich did not even bother getting his name on the Missouri ballot.

However, Santorum said Missouri is key to proving that without Newt Gingrich in the picture, he could beat Mitt Romney.

“If I'm out of the race, most of my votes go to Gov. Romney. If he's (Gingrich) out of the race, most of his votes go to me,” Santorum said in a Southeast Missourian article.

Many voters in St. Louis and St. Charles counties showed up at the polls and cast ballots anyway. Turnout seemed sporadic. Poll workers at two Florissant locations said turnout was low, but volunteers at the city’s said turnout was higher than expected.

Santorum did even better in St. Charles County than in the rest of the state, although his percentage in St. Louis County was slightly behind the rest of Missouri.

St. Charles County

  • Santorum     56.3%
  • Romney       25.4%
  • Paul             12.7%

(100 percent reporting)

St. Louis County

  • Santorum  53.5%
  • Romney    29.8%
  • Paul          10.6%

(538 of 540 precincts reporting)

Mark Wilson February 09, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Glad this is a meaningless "beauty pageant." Guy seems totally off his rocker.
Chris Schad February 09, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I don't believe exercising your right to vote is ever meaningless. I dedicated 20 years of my life to grant our citizens that right.
Tony Rivera February 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Chris, do you mean you worked on the women's suffrage bill? You must really be old. On behalf of our wives and daughters, thank you.
Christine Stewart Mehigh February 09, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I am also glad this is just a "beauty pageant" as Santorum is on the record as wanting to make it possible for states to outlaw the use of contraception, and he has stated that he would actively work to make this happen.
Elizabeth O'Fallon February 10, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Christine, do you plan on participating in the caucus? That is the best way to support one candidate over another. Also, can you link up an article or youtube video to back up your statement? I prefer to base my opinions based on facts I can verify, rather than rumor. Chris, thank you for your years of service to our country to preserve our freedoms--it is appreciated.

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