Santorum Holds Victory Party In St. Charles

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Republican presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, won the Missouri primary in a landslide, Tuesday night.  Late results showed him with a 30 point lead over Republican front runner, Mitt Romney, 55-25%.

Missouri`s primary was non-binding, meaning none of Missouri`s 52 delegates toward nomination were awarded based on the results.

Critics called it a 'beauty contest' and a waste of the $7-$8 million it cost taxpayers to hold the election.

Still, Santorum was glad he competed, claiming a 'Missouri bounce' at his victory party at the St. Charles Convention Center.

Santorum chose to have his party in Missouri, even though Colorado and Minnesota also held presidential contests Tuesday.

A crowd of 200-300 supporters repeatedly chanted 'we picked Rick!',  before, during, and after his 15 minute victory speech.

"Your votes today we`re not just heard loud and wide across the state 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, taking a shot at Romney.

Though pundits, even candidates like Newt Gingrich, who was  not on the Missouri ballot, keep saying the primary didn`t count for anything, Santorum thought otherwise, campaigning repeatedly in the state.   He was the only one of the 4 remaining, major, GOP candidates to do so.

Election officials said turnout could turn out to be a record low:  lessn 12% expected in St. Charles County, a Republican stronghold; less than 5% expcted inSt. Louiscounty, which has the most voters in the state.

Still, without Gingrich in the mix, Santorum proved he could take down Romney head to head.
He and supporters alike said that was a huge momentum builder, going into the Missouri Republican caucuses in March and Congressional District conventions in April, when the delegates will be awarded.

"We doubled them up here and in Minnesota," Santorum said to cheers.  "Tonight was not just a victory for us.  Tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and tea party people, who are out ther every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country ... And building a voice for freedom in this land.  Thank you.!"

He`s here, he gets to talk to them.  If the others don`t show up, they`re more likely I think to be inclined to support the guy who showed up... on March 17th, then on April 21st,' said Republican Committeeman, Chris Howard.

"I think he`s a very smart man," said supporter, Susan Stephan of Barnhart, who waited more than 5 hours to see Santorum.  "Even though it doesn`t count for anything tonight, I think what he does tonight, the fact that he did come through, has really put a lot of people behind him that would not have necessarily given him a second look.  I think it`s going to do a lot for him in the caucus, which is going to count."

"This is a state that matters a ton for a Republican.  I can`t imagine why anybody would ignore it," Santorum told Fox 2`s Andy Banker.

'Did you expect a 30 point win?'  Banker asked.

"No, but I`m very happy about it," Santorum beamed, as he signed autographs, then waved goodbye and left with his wife, Karen.

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