Rick Santorum Actually Won That Critical First State in the Presidential Race

The Iowa Republican party has a minor update to the results of this year's caucuses, something it discovered while going through the formality of certifying Mitt Romney's 8-vote victory: Someone else won. Eh, don't sweat it, Iowa Republican officials. We all change the course of a major party's presidential nominating process out of sheer incompetence from time to time.

The final vote count gave Rick Santorum a 34-vote advantage over Romney. Santorum was certified as the winner, but officials were calling the result a "split decision" since results from eight precincts are "missing" and will never be counted. Wow. Give the Iowa GOP a round of applause, everyone, for an administrative performance commensurate with the great responsibility of running the nation's first presidential vote.

Some will make a decent argument that this doesn't matter, but who the hell are they to say? "Mitt Romney won Iowa" has been the takeaway ever since the night of the caucuses, in spite of his vote margin, and "Mitt Romney is the first non-incumbent Republican candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire ever" also came into heavy rotation the following week. You can't dismiss the effect of those perceptions — more for how they've helped Romney's long-term chances than hurt Santorum's.

So, which state wants to hold the first caucuses in 2016?

[Image via AP]