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Santorum wins Minnesota caucus and Missouri primary

Former Sen. Rick Santorum edged ahead of Mitt Romney in the two states.

Santorum 2012 02 07Enlarge
Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Mo., on Feb. 7, 2012. (Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

The race for the Republican presidential nomination took a turn on Tuesday night, with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum winning a political caucus in Minnesota and a non-binding primary in Missouri.

The Associated Press said that Romney had gone into Tuesday’s polls expecting to extend his winning streak in the contest to represent the Republicans in the next presidential elections. According to the news agency, Romney dominated in both Minnesota and Colorado when he first ran for nomination in 2008.

However, returns from 75 percent of Minnesota precincts gave Santorum 45 percent of the vote, with Ron Paul at 27 percent, Romney at 17 percent and Newt Gingrich at 11 percent, according to the AP.

Reuters reported that with 86 percent of the vote counted in Missouri, Santorum had won 56 percent of the votes while Romney had won just 25 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot.

"Conservatism is alive and well in Missouri and Minnesota," Santorum told his cheering supporters in St. Charles, Mo., after the results came in, the AP reported.

“The dynamic appears to challenge assertions by Newt Gingrich that the GOP presidential contest is now a two-person race between him and Romney,” Fox News reports.

It adds that Gingrich hardly campaigned in the three states voting on Tuesday and was instead focusing on up-coming primaries elsewhere.

“The Colorado and Minnesota caucuses are the first step in a long process to assign delegates, and the Missouri primary is considered a "beauty contest," CBS’s reporter said, adding: “Still, the nominating contests could give some indication of which candidates have lasting momentum.”

Santorum had campaigned aggressively in all three states in an attempt to revitalise his campaign that has slumped since a narrow first-place finish in the Iowa caucuses last month, Fox News said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120207/santorum-leads-minnesota-caucus-and-missouri-pri