Rick Santorum Wins North Dakota, Ron Paul Takes Second, NDGOP Establishment Hardest Hit

Update: Final, official results here. A district-by-district break down of vote totals are here.

With roughly 90% of districts reporting as of the time of this writing, here are the caucus results via the NDGOP:

Santorum’s win was by a wide margin, and a bit surprising because given the number of establishment Republicans who threw their weight behind Romney (see the full list below), up to and including popular governor-turned-US Senator John Hoeven (who got a shout out from Romney’s wife tonight). But what’s really surprising to me is that Romney not only didn’t win, he took third place behind Ron Paul.

Third. Place. What’s worse, in addition to taking third in total votes, it appears as though Romney won just two districts.

I wrote yesterday about what the implications would be for local politics if Ron Paul won the caucuses. As I noted then, the NDGOP has a bit of a civil war going on between conservatives/libertarians in the tea party/Ron Paul movement and the more liberal establishment which was responsible for electing Hoeven to three consecutive gubernatorial terms and to the US Senate.

If the establishment couldn’t get out the vote for Romney, what does that mean for the status of the NDGOP? Is there a rightward shift going on?

At risk of reading too much into a non-binding caucus vote that represents just a fraction of those who will vote in the primary and general elections, I think there is a shift at play. And it may lead to some very interesting convention results at the end of the month.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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