Iowa Splits Rural and Urban

[imgbelt img=rick-santorum-hunts-with-steve-king-238.jpeg]Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum tied in Iowa as a whole, but Romney won the cities while Santorum swept the countryside.


writes, Santorum provided voters with “sincere social conservatism that wasn’t complicated by earlier moral failings (Gingrich, Cain) or missteps in the campaign (Perry).” 

Santorum also picked up endorsements from key conservatives, such as radio talk show host Sam Clovis and Bob Vander Plaats, a former gubernatorial candidate who led the campaign to oust three state Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of gay marriage in 2010. 

[imgcontainer left] [img:romneyonchair530.jpg] [source]AP/Charlie Riedel

Mitt Romney at the Music Man Square in Mason City, Iowa.

And, since Santorum’s surge came late in the campaign, other candidates didn’t have time to react. When other candidates (Perry, Cain, Gingrich) moved ahead, all were brought back to the pack by negative ads, troubling news from the candidates’ past or gaffes. Santorum never received this kind of negative attention.

Experts don’t expect Santorum to do as well in New Hampshire, the next stop in the primary where Romney has a sizeable lead. Even a good showing in South Carolina doesn’t leave Santorum with many places to go. Sides wrote that the “Santorum surge should prove short-lived.” 

But Santorum is making a new pitch. On his web site this morning the candidate announced: “Rick Santorum Proves He is the Only Conservative who can beat Mitt Romney.” 

He’s staking that claim with votes coming out of rural Iowa.