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Mitt Romney wins Iowa, in anything but a snoozer

It apparently took a call to roust a precinct chair out of bed to confirm results that finally, at about 2:33 a.m., gave Mitt Romney a victory, by 8 votes, in the state of Iowa.

State Republican officials said that, with 99 percent of the precincts counted and with Romney within four votes of Rick Santorum (29,968 to 29,964), they could not declare a winner until one precinct from Clinton County, in eastern Iowa, reported its results.

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According to a CNN interview with two county officials, those precinct results had actually been sent to the state at 8:48 Eastern time, almost six hours before. It was unclear why those numbers were not tabulated in the statewide count in what turned out to be the closest caucus ever in Iowa’s history. The officials said they were awaken from sleep with requests for the numbers.

The end result: Romney had 30,015. Santorum, 30,007.

Michael Bailey can be reached at m_bailey@globe.com

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