Santorum Wins Minnesota, Too
Ron Paul knocks Romney into 3rd place
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2012 9:18 PM CST
Updated Feb 7, 2012 10:27 PM CST
Rick Santorum campaigns in Luverne, Minn. yesterday.   (AP Photo/Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune)

(Newser) Predictions of a big night for Rick Santorum have come true. The candidate has won the Minnesota caucuses easily, scoring 45% of the vote with 95% of precincts reporting, according to Politico. Mitt Romney—who won Minnesota in 2008—has been knocked into third place, with 17% to Ron Paul's 27%. Newt Gingrich came fourth with 10.6%.

"Conservatism is alive and well,” Santorum told supporters at an election night party in Missouri. “I don’t stand here and claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama." Earlier, in Minnesota, he said Romney is "not inspiring. He’s not painting the vision." Santorum now has momentum on his side, if not delegates, although Romney's campaign has been downplaying the importance of the contest in Minnesota.