Romney, Santorum neck and neck in Iowa

By Ron Kampeas, JTA, WASHINGTON

Each of the candidates were within dozens of votes of each other as votes were counted Tuesday night, splitting about 75 percent of the vote evenly.

ADVERTISEMENT
What's My Home Worth? ad


Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, a strongly pro-Israel family values conservative, was the biggest surprise.

Until last week, he was lagging in polls, but he seemed to benefit from cultural and foreign policy conservatives who had despaired of a welter of other candidates who had challenged Romney, a relative moderate, and then had fallen victim to missteps.

The voting seemed also to belie predictions that Rep. Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian who favors small government and cutting foreign spending including assistance to Israel, would be harmed by a barrage of negative attacks from other camps.

Paul appeared to attract strong support of younger voters and independents.

Romney, the former Massachussets governor, has attracted the strongest Jewish support among Republicans, both in donations and in his advisers.

He has been the putative frotntrunner for months, but has failed so far to pull decisively ahead of the pack.

Romney’s campaign is now focused on pulling out a decisive win in New Hampshire, where voting takes place on Jan. 10.

Candidates faring less well in Iowa included Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. All three had at various times during 2011 led polling.

Click to login and write a letter to the editor or sign up for the Daily Briefing.

Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief.

More articles by this author   »