Mitt Romney was projected the winner of Tuesday night's Iowa caucus.
The former Massachusetts governor emerged victorious over former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) by a razor-thin margin of just eight votes. The final results, announced early Wednesday by the Iowa GOP, showed Romney had 30,015 votes to 30,007 for Santorum.
Despite the victory, Romney was unable to garner 25% percent of the vote. With 99.5% of precincts reporting, Romney won 24.6% to Santorum's 24.5%. In all, more than 122,000 straw ballots were cast, a record for Iowa Republicans.
Although the results are non-binding when it comes to picking Iowa's 25 delegates to the GOP convention next summer in Tampa, Romney will take a projected 13 delegates to Santorum's 12, The Associated Press reported.
Heading into the leadoff vote of the 2012 election season, recent polls showed Romney holding a slim lead over rival contenders U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Santorum. Paul placed third in the contest.
In 2008, Romney poured $10 million into his campaign in Iowa, but ultimately came in second place behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Romney returned to the Hawkeye State last year with a scaled-down operation. In recent months, however, the Republican hopeful's team made moves to step up its game in Iowa with campaign ads and voter outreach efforts.
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