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Northwest Iowans Explain Pull For Santorum

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The first step in the election process is complete; one state down and 49 more to go. Iowa has raised its voice with Mitt Romney squeaking out a victory over Rick Santorum.

But the results varied in different parts of the state. In northwest Iowa for instance, Santorum dominated the race. Residents in Lyon County say the number of visits and the openness about his religious beliefs may be what made Santorum the glove that fit northwest Iowa best.

“He really ran an old fashioned, door-to-door campaign; making calls, interacting with average Iowans in their homes and in their coffee shops,” said Dr. Cody Hoefert of Rock Rapids.

Rick Santorum visited the Lyon County in northwest Iowa three times; and residents agree it made a difference.

"Santorum hit this area a lot,” said Ken Barker of Rock Rapids. “He had some very faithful people who were working behind him.”

"Iowa really is about relationships,” said Doug Vant Hof of Rock Rapids. “It's still an area where you pick up somebody on the side of the road and if there is a car pulled over you help them.  When a candidate comes and spends time with you, you're more likely to support them.”

Lyon County showed the largest net margin of victory in Iowa with 61 percent for Santorum; second only to their neighbors in Sioux County. Santorum's nearest competitor only received 10 percent of the votes.

"To us, I think in the Midwest, being a strong family person is extremely important,” said Barker.

"When he talks about praying regularly or praying in the morning prior to starting his day, it shows that he has a spiritual relationship,” said Vant Hof.

Some argue that those who lead in Iowa don't necessarily go on to lead elsewhere in the nation. Lyon County residents say it might be due to a candidate’s religious basis.

"Iowa picks a candidate that has more religious values and some of the other areas of the country might not stand as strong on those religious values,” said Vant Hof.

Residents say they are thankful for the one-on-one time with candidates that comes with being first to caucus, but now that it's over, they say they hope they get a break from all of the political campaign ads.

Residents say the caucus turn out seemed better than past years. Some say they believe it is due to an increased number of phone calls to get people out to caucus, as well as an interest in being part of finding the solution when it comes national debt.

Maren Larson
Facebook Fan Page: Maren Larson KDLT News
Follow On Twitter: @MnlarsonKDLT
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