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In each contest, turnout is lower than it was in 2008. On Twitter, comments flew about the thousands of voters who came out in 2008 and stayed home in 2012. Democrats are eager to paint this as showing a lack of enthusiasm for the Republican field and Mitt Romney in particular; the DNC chair saying: “In state after state, turnout among Republican voters is lower than it was in 2008, and they are increasingly dissatisfied with their choice of candidates.”

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz commented on Romney’s losses Tuesday night, pointing out that the losses showed voters had serious reservations about Romney: 

Tonight was a bad night for Mitt Romney, plain and simple.  What should have been a night where he began to consolidate Republican support instead has shown that Republicans are reluctant to get behind him.   Republicans are giving the field of candidates another look, demonstrating that the more people get to know Mitt Romney, the less they like him.  They know he'll say anything to get elected, and they don't want a candidate they can't trust...

 

No candidate embodies that dissatisfaction more than Mitt Romney, who hasn't managed to lock this nomination up. The presumed front runner of the GOP field lost two of tonight’s contests so far – that math speaks for itself.  He is losing support from independent voters nationally, and tonight we saw he's not gaining the favor of Republican primary voters either. They clearly don't appreciate being ignored as Mitt Romney did to Minnesota and they know his failed record as Governor of Massachusetts on the key issue of jobs, his background as a corporate raider, and his economic proposals would leave the middle class behind.

On Tuesday, a Romney senior staffer said what is already obvious: Romney will ramp up his attacks on Santorum. Stuart Stevens, a senior Romney advisor, said that Romney would begin to focus more aggressively on his opponent on the campaign trail. One likely line of attack will be that Santorum is a Washington insider.

“I think we’ll see differences in approach that will be explored. Rick Santorum tonight was fairly aggressive in his contrasts, and I think we’ll see differences,” Stevens said Tuesday night. “Look, I just don’t think it’s a time when people are looking to Washington to solve problems with Washington.”

 

 

Rick Santorum is the projected winner in the Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri Republican contests, a surprising revival for a candidate whose campaign has flagged since winning Iowa in January.

"Conservatism is alive and well in Missouri and Minnesota," an exuberant Santorum told Missouri supporters in his victory speech.

Romney congratulated his rival in his own address in Colorado, calling it a "good night" for the candidate. But he mostly stuck to his usual stump speech from there, criticizing President Obama for his handling of the economy and casting the race as a battle to save "the soul of America."

While Missouri's circumstances are odd enough to allow Romney some leeway in spinning the results, Santorum's victories in Minnesota and Colorado are unambiguous setbacks for the nominal frontrunner. Romney won Colorado big in 2008, taking more than 60% of the vote, and won Minnesota with 41% of the vote the same year. Especially in Minnesota, Romney seemed poised for a repeat success: the state's last governor, Tim Pawlenty, is Romney's national campaign chair and has served as his most prominent surrogate since ending his own presidential run last August. But in 2012, his supporters apparently abandoned him en masse: in Minnesota he finished third with just 17% of the vote behind Ron Paul's 27% and Santorum's 45%. In Colorado, he took second with about 35% to Santorum's 40%. Gingrich finished with just under 13% and Paul with just under 12%.

Missouri occupied a strange place in the race -- because of a quirk in the scheduling, its primary doesn't actually count towards determining its delegates and turnout was reportedly low. In addition, Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot. Gingrich told CNN on Tuesday that he didn't take Missouri's results seriously and was turning his attention to states like Ohio next.

"This is entirely a beauty contest and has no effect at all," Gingrich said.

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The Colorado Republican Party has posted almost-complete results of its caucuses, showing Rick Santorum upsetting Mitt Romney by a solid margin.

With 99% of precincts reporting: Rick Santorum 40%, Mitt Romney 35%, Newt Gingrich 13%, and Ron Paul 12%.

In 2008, when Romney had become the alternative to John McCain, he won the Colorado caucuses with 60% of the vote, followed by McCain 18%, Mike Huckabee 13%, and Ron Paul 9%.

Colorado Republican Party chairman Ryan Call has told CNN that Rick Santorum will be the winner of the Colorado caucuses.

Call said that the party is finalizing the results, and will have them ready shortly.

This means that Santorum will sweep the three races tonight in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, seizing momentum as the insurgent alternative to Mitt Romney. Back in 2008, Romney won the caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado, when he had become the alternative to John McCain.

The Romney campaign has sent out a fundraising e-mail from his wife Ann Romney, titled "On the road again" — offering a contest in which a lucky donor could win a day with the candidate out on the trail.

Key quote:

We draw great motivation and energy from your support. Our day-to-day interactions with you at rallies, town halls, and other campaign events serve as a constant reminder of why Mitt is in this fight.

We wish we could spend more time with each and every one of you. And that's why we're inviting a supporter like you to spend a day on the road with Mitt.

One lucky supporter will get to join Mitt for a day as he makes stops on the campaign trail. And by donating $5, you will automatically be entered for the chance to be Mitt's special guest on the road - https://secure.mittromney.com/donate/day-on-the-road

Mitt Romney addressed supporters in Denver, on the night that he lost the Minnesota caucuses and Missouri's non-binding primary to Rick Santorum. The result is still pending in Colorado, with Santorum ahead in the very early returns — and Romney was not able to predict victory there, either.

Romney thanked all his supporters, including those who have gone out caucusing tonight in Colorado. "The race is too close to call in Colorado at this point, but I'm pretty confident we'll come in Number 1 or Number 2."

After further thanking his supporters in Colorado, as well as Missouri and Minnesota, he said: "This was a a good night for Rick Santorum. I want to congratulate Senator Santorum, wish him the very best. We'll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become our nominee with your help."

Apeearing on Fox News after his projected wins in the Minnesota Republican caucuses and the Missouri GOP primary vote, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) said that he thinks he can do well in the Midwest, where he has now won three states (tonight's two and the Iowa caucuses). He specifically mentioned Ohio and Michigan, industrial states like the one he represented in the Senate.

Santorum also took a swipe at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the national GOP frontrunner of the moment. Santorum called him simply "dead wrong" on some of the issues, saying Romney was for big government.

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