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Updated: Woodbury Straw Poll Goes To Santorum

Republicans from District 56B gave the nod to Rick Santorum, followed by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, with Newt Gingrich a distant fourth.

At the outset of a Republican caucus in Woodbury, no one spoke on behalf of Rick Santorum.

It didn’t matter.

Santorum took home the straw poll at during the District 56B GOP caucus. (Here's our .)

He secured 171 votes, followed by:

There were also write-in votes for Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin.

The numbers in Woodbury reflected those statewide.

With 93.43 percent of the ballots counted Wednesday morning, Santorum had 21,495 votes, or 44.84 percent. That was about the same percentage of the vote he’d maintained throughout the ballot counting Tuesday night. Paul came in second, with 13,039 votes, or 27.20 percent.

Romney, the presumed front-runner going into the night, got only 8,108 votes, less than 17 percent. Gingrich, who won in South Carolina last month, got 5,157 votes, or 10.76 percent. There were 140 votes for write-in candidates.

Hundreds of local Republicans attended the caucus, which also included speeches from lawmakers Andrea Kieffer and Ted Lillie, along with notes of support for GOP candidates read by attendees.

Woodbury resident Eric Fraser was among those caucusing at East Ridge Tuesday night. He said he was there to ensure that the party’s values will be represented by whomever is selected to run against President Obama.

While Fraser said he would likely vote Republican regardless, he was leaning toward Santorum, the eventual winner in Minnesota.

Marcus Bachmann, wife of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, , relayed a letter from the U.S. representative at the start of Tuesday’s event. He said she has not endorsed a candidate at this point because her goals are “to unite our party” and defeat “the destructive Obama agenda.”

The speaker who most stirred the crowd, however, seemed to be Sen. Lillie, who touted the GOP-controlled legislature’s work to .

Lillie also referenced “the Dayton shutdown” and his own efforts to in the event lawmakers can’t reach a budget deal in the future.

On gay marriage, Lillie stopped short of saying how he felt about the matter, but said Minnesotans have the right to vote on it. On a voter ID bill, he said, “Your vote should count and it should count once.”

Rep. Kieffer drew a laugh from the crowd when she pulled out a large scroll that she said was a list of “bad Democrat ideas.” She urged the crowd to support local Republican candidates any way they can in the upcoming election. “Public opinion matters,” she said.

, said the turnout for Tuesday’s caucus was somewhat smaller than she anticipated, but it didn’t diminish Minnesota’s a role in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

“Those who show up here and vote have the chance to make an impact for a much bigger change,” Fenton told Patch.

One big part of the caucus was the selection of local delegates, who will go on to a March 24 convention. Woodbury’s Lee Bohlsen was among thing.

She has served as a GOP delegate for several years and said Santorum’s values most closely align with her own.

Things went fairly smoothly Tuesday at East Ridge, Bohlsen said, adding that she enjoys the caucus process.

“It’s grassroots,” she said. “If ever you have a say in your government, it’s here.”

Joe Salmon, District 56 Republican chair, also said the caucus went well. There was a big turnout for Ron Paul supporters, he said.

Santorum, the big winner Tuesday, actually didn’t send any literature to local Republicans for the caucus, which was “kind of surprising,” Salmon said.

He said that before the votes were counted and Santorum was declared the winner, but as one Ron Paul supporter pointed out, it will still be up to the delegates.

There were 944 votes cast in Districts 56A and 56B: Santorum 36 percent, Paul 32 percent, Romney 23 percent and Gingrich 9 percent, according to a GOP District 56 post on its Facebook page.

Derek Arnold February 15, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Resorting to personal attacks doesn't seem like a good use of the comments field of this article to me.
Dave Anderson February 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Derek pelase understand Paul will lash out at anything that involves things non liberal. His favorite target has been Michele Bachman, although it got so bad we think he was ordered into treatment as there were concerns about his behavoir in relation to normal people.

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