Romney wins state straw poll; Santorum carries county

Published on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has prevailed in the Washington state Republican straw poll, but the former Massachusetts governor came in third in Whatcom County results.

Out of a total 50,764 votes cast statewide, Romney collect 37.7 percent of the vote, while his closest competitor, Texas congressman Ron Paul, garnered 24.8 percent, according to data released by the Washington State Republican Party. Former Pennsylvania congressman Rick Santorum and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich collected 23.8 percent and 10.3 percent of the vote, respectively.

In Whatcom County straw poll results, however, Santorum led the pack with 33 percent of 2,160 total votes cast. Paul came in second with 27.8 percent, while Romney and Gingrich rounded out the quartet with 22 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively.

Luanne Van Werven, the chair of Whatcom Republicans, said Santorum’s campaign became especially active in the county in the weeks leading up to the March 3 state caucuses. Van Werven said she thinks this, combined with Santorum’s conservative credentials appealing to many county Republicans, contributed to Santorum’s victory in Whatcom County.

Countywide Republican voters soundly supported Santorum, but he came in third to Romney and Paul in the Blaine and Birch Bay areas.

Romney and Paul both collected 31.6 percent of 250 votes cast in the seven voting precincts that comprise Blaine and Birch Bay, with Santorum garnering 22.8 percent and Gingrich 10 percent.

Washington’s straw polls have finished, but Republicans still have work to do in choosing which 43 delegates from across the state will be sent to the Republican National Convention in August. Republican candidates need 1,144 countrywide delegates to win the Republican nomination and run against President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.