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Santorum Takes Late Lead In MN Polls

February 6, 2012, 5:08 PM by David Brown

Santorum Takes Late Lead In MN Polls
WORTHINGTON, MN - The Minnesota caucuses are on Tuesday, and now, the race has flip-flopped from where it was just a week ago.

Rick Santorum, who's spent the most time campaigning in the state, now leads Mitt Romney by two percentage points in the latest polls released this past weekend.

It's a far cry from where things were just one week ago. Newt Gingrich, who was leading the polls, is now in 3rd. Ron Paul has maintained his 4th place status, but perhaps the biggest revelation is that presumed front-runner Romney shouldn't expect any help from Minnesota.

You might say the upcoming Minnesota caucus is becoming criss-crossed. Candidates once believed to be moving in the right direction are now moving backward, while others are going forward.

"I believe I would vote for Santorum," Worthington resident Daniel Dettman said.

"The biggest thing was Romney spending all of his money down south running negative campaign ads," Wilmont resident Roy Hemmert said.

Santorum's coming off a last-place finish in Nevada, but he now leads Minnesota's polls. Some voters credit Santorum's willingness to visit all corners of the state, including Luverne on January 30.

"A lot of times in the big areas, they're the most important," Dettman said. "But we're just as important as the Twin Cities."

"There are people tired of the big government, Republicans and Democrats," Nobles County Republican Party chairman Paul Langseth said. "They want us to go back to a constitutional level."

Langseth says there's no telling how the votes will go down Tuesday night. But he says the main reason for Santorum's rising popularity is because his stance on certain issues hits home to the southwest corner of the state.

"I think Santorum's message is hitting a resonance with the population out here," Langseth said.

"He seems like he's the type of candidate who wants the presidency, but needs more support," Minneota resident Allen Gratz said.

And while it's only a small sample size, when voters in Nobles County head to Worthington High School for the caucus on Tuesday, they'll remember the candidate who's spent some time in the area.

"I think I still want to stick to my gut feeling that Santorum is the better person," Gratz said.

"I think he's got a good message," Dettman added. "He's a solid conservative and I believe he's the best one."

The Minnesota caucuses start at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

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