Rick Santorum Takes Minnesota and Missouri, Says ‘We are in the Fight’

Feb 8, 2012 12:33am

SAINT CHARLES, Mo. — “Conservatism is alive and well,” Rick Santorum triumphantly announced to supporters Tuesday night after winning the states of Minnesota and Missouri.

Although no delegates are awarded in Missouri, it was his first head-to-head matchup against Mitt Romney and he came out with a decisive victory. Delegates will be allocated at Missouri’s primary next month. Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot.

“Your votes today were not just heard loud and wide across the states of Missouri and Minnesota, but they were heard loud and louder all across this country and particularly in a place I suspect maybe in Massachusetts, they were heard particularly loud tonight,” Santorum said, referring to Romney headquarters in Boston.

He then set his sights squarely on President Obama.

“He thinks he’s smarter than you,” Santorum said. “He think he’s someone who is a privileged person, who should be able to rule over you.”

He then compared the two saying the former Massachusetts governor “has the same positions as Obama and in fact would not be the best person to fight for your voices and freedom in America.”

“I don’t stand up here claiming to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I am here claiming to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama,” Santorum said to cheers of “We pick Rick.”

Coloradans caucused Tuesday evening as well, but votes were still being tabulated late into the evening.

Standing in front of a brand new “Made in America” sign and flanked by his wife, Karen, and children Elizabeth and John, he also jabbed at Romney’s gaffe from last week, when the former Massachusetts governor said he was unconcerned with the “very poor” because those Americans already have policies in place to care for them.

“I care about the 95 percent. I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America,” Santorum said, also standing next to his friend and billionaire mutual fund manager, Foster Friess.

Friess — who is also the biggest donor to his super PAC — told ABC News he was “blown away” by the results.

Santorum came out and greeted supporters — it was not a packed room at the convention center, although the crowd was boisterous — and said he was “ecstatic.”

“I think since we’ve won now as many states as anybody else, we’re in the fight. We are the fight,” Santorum told reporters.

Delegates are not awarded this evening in Colorado or Minnesota, allocated at a later date, but campaigns are about momentum shifts and headlines and that was the true goal of this evening.

This is Santorum’s first win since his victory in Iowa and the former Pennsylvania senator wants to be viewed as the “true conservative alternative” to Romney, which the candidate says on the trail every day, and these wins are a step closer to that goal, despite the lack of delegates.

He heads to Texas Wednesday to attend a fundraiser and a meeting with pastors in the Dallas area. A campaign aide called the state “very generous.”

Tuesday’s Missouri primary was not the state’s main GOP voting event — the MO caucuses on March 17 will be. Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot, Mitt Romney did not campaign in Mo., and Tuesday’s vote will not affect Missouri’s 52 delegates.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting:

Rick Santorum   55.2%
Mitt Romney     25.3%
Ron Paul              12.2%

Total votes cast in the GOP primary: 251,868

Total votes cast in the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries combined was 326,231, significantly underperforming the Missouri secretary of State’s office’s predicted total turnout of almost 960,000.

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