12:28am

Wed February 8, 2012
Election 2012

Santorum Upsets Romney in Colorado Caucuses

Rick Santorum has dealt Mitt Romney's campaign a stunning blow by pulling off a trio of wins in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.  In Colorado, with 99% of the precincts reporting as of early Wednesday morning, Santorum had 40% of the vote, compared with Romney's 34%, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in a distant third and fourth.

The race was still too close to call when Mitt Romney addressed a small crowd of supporters in a noticeably small auditorium in the Tivoli Student Center.

"This was a good night for Rick Santorum." Romney said. "I want to congratulate Senator Santorum, wish him the very best, we’ll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become the nominee with your help."

Romney then went back to a familiar script of acting like the front-runner and targeting his attacks on President Obama, even though Rick Santorum’s upset here and wins in Minnesota and Missouri are raising questions over whether he can rally his party’s hard-line conservative base. 

"When this primary season is over, we’re going to stand united behind our party as a nominee to defeat Barack Obama and restore the values that have made America the greatest nation in the history of the earth," Romney said.

Colorado’s caucuses are symbolic preference polls and delegates can change their votes when it comes time for the state party convention. 

Romney supporter Jennifer Ward is a delegate from her precinct in Westminster. She drove down to the watch-party after caucusing.

"I’m hopeful that when we get to April, the delegates will decide that Romney is the Colorado choice," Ward said.

But it’s clear after Tuesday night, Mitt Romney still has a long way to go to build the support he initially enjoyed here in 2008 – when he won 60% of the vote.