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Santorum Steals Rock Rapids Caucus

January 3, 2012, 10:14 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Santorum Steals Rock Rapids Caucus
ROCK RAPIDS, IA - Voters filled community centers all over Northwest Iowa Tuesday night. Nearly 500 caucused in Lyon County to hear the final pitch before making a decision.  

"You will need to have a ballot," said county Republican Party leader Cody Hoefert giving directions before the vote. "Go talk to the people in the back who checked you in," he said. 

More than 200 people from two Rock Rapids Area precincts filled two separate rooms to hear one last stump from candidate supporters before the vote.

"We are hard-line conservative voters. He is right on every issue," said Texas resident Chris Carter, who drove from his home state to help the Rick Perry campaign. 

"We want the best candidate to unseat who we have now," said Rock Rapids resident Dale Klinkenborg.

Both Klinkenborg and his wife, Ronda, came to the caucus undecided. And in a year with so much emphasis placed on the state's caucus, the Klikenborgs are not alone. People who have caucused for years waited until the final minutes to pick a contender.

"I think a lot of time they do, but I even have people right here at our table that they have not decided yet, right now," said long-time Rock Rapids resident Norma Jansma. 

"We've met some of the candidates; Michelle Bachmann is impressive. There have been a lot of impressive candidates," Klinkenborg said. 

But when it's all over, there will only be one candidate as far as Iowans are concerned. And win or lose, after Tuesday night, the spotlight and the presidential circus it highlights will head out of town. 

Lyon, O'Brien, Sioux, and Cherokee Counties all voted for Rick Santorum, while Plymouth County picked Mitt Romney.

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