Rick Santorum Falls Hard

5th-place finish in NH kills Iowa momentum

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 11, 2012 3:50 AM CST | Updated Jan 11, 2012 6:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Rick Santorum has crashed back to earth in New Hampshire after his near-win in Iowa. With 95% of precincts reporting, the candidate is in fifth place in the state, a few hundred votes behind Newt Gingrich. He won just 9.3% of the vote in New Hampshire, and analysts say his decision to spend five days campaigning there instead of going straight to South Carolina looks like a mistake that could spell doom for his campaign, Politico reports.

"He wasted time in a state he couldn’t win instead of coming to a state where he could absolutely place first, second, or third," says South Carolina GOP strategist Wes Donehue. Santorum's social conservative message is likely to appeal more in South Carolina but he will face stiff competition for conservative voters from Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, whose Winning Our Future super PAC plans a $3.4 million ad blitz that Santorum's campaign can't afford to match.

Rick Santorum , accompanied by his wife Karen, speaks during a primary night rally  in Manchester, N.H.
Rick Santorum , accompanied by his wife Karen, speaks during a primary night rally in Manchester, N.H.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Rick Santorum speaks at a primary night gathering after the polls closed in the nation's first primary on January 10, 2012 at Derryfield Restaurant in Manchester, N.H.
Rick Santorum speaks at a primary night gathering after the polls closed in the nation's first primary on January 10, 2012 at Derryfield Restaurant in Manchester, N.H.   (Getty Images)
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