It’s looking like nearly a photo finish for Santorum and Romney with nearly all the results in, according to NBC Politics. Texas Congressman Ron Paul is projected to come in 3rd place. Newt Gingrich came in fourth place. You can read/view more complete caucus results here.
Meanwhile, Governor Perry – after a disappointing but not unexpected lackluster finish (in 5th place) – will be heading back to Texas to reassess, after saying earlier in the day that he’d go on to South Carolina, regardless of what the results were in Iowa:
(CNN) - Following a disappointing projected fifth place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he’ll return to Texas Wednesday to assess the results of the nation’s first Republican nominating contest.
“With a little prayer and reflection, I’m going to decide the best path forward,” Perry said Tuesday to supporters at his Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines.
Perry surged to the top of the GOP presidential pack when he jumped into the race mid-August but quickly saw his numbers fall in the polls after a series of uneven debate performances.
Leading up to the caucuses, Perry was competing for the fourth spot in several major polls.
“But I want to tell you, there has been no greater joy in my life than to be able to share with the people of Iowa and of this country that there is a model to take this country forward, and it is in the great state of Texas,” Perry said Tuesday night, with his family standing behind him.
Aaand to make matters more depressing for us anti-Romney types, Senator McCain is set to endorse the Mittster tomorrow in New Hampshire, according to a “former McCain aide.” Not exactly a shock, and likely not something that will impress the conservative base. Politico notes:
McCain’s endorsement will help Romney pivot away from Iowa, toward New Hampshire, and turn the page on the caucuses in any case. But McCain also symbolizes much of what the GOP base doesn’t want in its 2012 nominee, so it’ll be interesting to see just how closely Romney hugs the Arizona senator.
The endorsement is also a blow to Jon Huntsman, who has attempted to campaign as a McCain-style maverick and staked his whole bid on the state that made McCain a national figure.
One thing to remember is that Iowa is no sure predictor of the eventual nominee for the GOP, but it does appear that a disturbing number of high profile politicos are lining up around Mitt Romney which may give him momentum going forward to New Hampshire and beyond, even though he’s pretty much a sure thing in NH anyway, considering he’s been polling in double digit leads for months now. South Carolina is a different story however.
Your thoughts, my dear readers? Are we seeing the beginnings of “Mittmentum” or will Iowa and New Hampshire be exceptions to the rule?