Even though all three contests tonight are “nonbinding”, Nate Silver at the NYTs writes that they are high stakes races, nonetheless.
A cynic might say that tonight’s Republican contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri deserve an asterisk. In Minnesota and Colorado, which will hold caucuses, voters will pick their preferred presidential candidate in a nonbinding straw poll, while picking delegates to county and regional conventions in a separate vote. In Missouri, no delegates are on the line at all; the state will hold a separate caucus for that purpose on March 17.
The results, nevertheless, will provide an important test of how robust Mitt Romney’s coalition is on less favorable terrain than in states like New Hampshire or Nevada. And they could potentially revitalize the campaign of one of Mr. Romney’s opponents, Rick Santorum.
Nor should one go too far in dismissing the results. The process that Minnesota and Colorado use, holding separate votes for presidential preference and delegate selection at their caucuses, is essentially the same one that was used in Iowa. Missouri is a more debatable case, but as the first primary of any kind held in the Midwest — perhaps Mr. Romney’s weakest region — it may tell us something about how states like Michigan and Ohio are likely to vote when they hold key primaries on Feb. 28 and March 6, respectively.
Results for Missouri, HERE: With 167 out of 3,134 precincts reporting, Rick Santorum leads with 5,105 votes, 49% of the vote. Mitt Romney is in 2nd place with 2,984, 28.7% and Ron Paul is in 3rd place with 1,255 or 12% of the vote.
Results in MN, HERE: Also looking good for Santorum: 46.73%, Paul 24.12%, Romney: 16.44%.
Colorado results, HERE. No results as of 8:15 pm cst.
UPDATE: 8:24 – Santorum up to 52,9% in MO, 26.3% for Mitt Romney.
Interesting aside: In MO, Obama is only getting 84.8% of the vote in the Dem Primary. 8.7 are uncommitted.
UPDATE: 8:57: Santorum up to 55% in MO, Romney 24.*%. It’s going to be a blow-out.
Uncommitted Dems surging to 9% in MO: Obama down to 83.7%
UPDATE: 9:10: Santorum is garnering 50% of the vote thus far in CO! (7% of the vote reporting).
Gingrich is in 2nd with 21%, Romney in 3rd with 19%.
The Midwest is sending a message to Romney, tonight.
UPDATE: 9:20: The Google election map for MO shows Santorum winning every single county in the state.
(AP) — Rick Santorum has won the Missouri Republican primary, a nonbinding election that carries bragging rights but does not award any delegates in the race for the presidential nomination.
Missouri will pick its delegates at caucuses next month.
UPDATE: 10:00 pm cst:
Santorum wins MN with 45% of the vote.
UPDATE: 11:45: Santorum and Romney tied with 36% apiece with 55% of the precincts in.
11:48 – Santorum ahead again 37% to 35%…63% in…
11:50: Santorum extends lead –38% to 35%… 64% in…
Livestreaming on CSPAN: Rick Santorum Holds Primary Night Event in Missouri –
Colorado called for Santorum.
It’s a trifecta!
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!