Mitt Romney wins the Iowa caucuses and Rick Santorum places second by a narrow margin. Santorum finishes with a mere eight votes behind Romney. According to Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn the official vote count for Romney tallies 30,015 and 30,007 for Santorum. Both Romney and Santorum captured roughly 25 percent of the votes in Iowa. Ron Paul finished in third place with 22 percent of voters backing him and Newt Gingrich finished fourth. Gingrich surged in the polls before the New Year but recently plummeted, and his fourth place finish in Iowa shows his fall in popularity. Gingrich blamed Romney’s “negative ads” but praised Santorum and Paul on their success in Iowa. However, he did describe Paul’s foreign policy as “stunningly dangerous.” Texas Governor Rick Perry finished in fifth with 10 percent. He announced the night of the caucus results Jan. 3 he would not go to South Carolina and instead return to his home state. “I’ve decided to return to Texas, assess the results and determine whether there is a path forward,” Perry said. Michele Bachmann brought up the rear with a sixth place finish. The republican candidates will now turn their attention towards New Hampshire. The New Hampshire primary is Jan. 10 preceded by a debate Jan. 7.