Romney wins by a whisker in Iowa

Republican frontrunner beats Rick Santorum by just eight votes in first primary.

After a farcical night in Iowa, with some votes lost and others miscounted, Mitt Romney has been declared the winner of the first Republican primary. The former Massachusetts governor received 30,015 votes, with Rick Santorum just eight behind on 30,007. The proportional allocation rules mean that both candidates, plus third-placed Ron Paul, will get the same number of delegates (seven each, with two for Newt Gingrich and two for Rick Perry) but, as he both hoped and expected, Romney gets to call himself "the winner".

Attention will now move to New Hampshire, where Romney has a huge lead in the polls but his status as the frontrunner means he is vulnerable to attack from all sides. In particular, the Romney camp will be troubled by the speed with which Santorum, with a fraction of his rival's resources, closed the gap in the polls. As this Buzzfeed chart shows, Romnney's campaign spent $156 per vote, while Santorum spent just $21 per vote.

Meanwhile, Rick Perry is retreating to his governor's mansion in Texas to ponder "whether there is a path forward for myself in this race." We won't know for certain until tomorrow but it sounds very much as if he will drop out.

Below is the result in full.

Mitt Romney 30,015 votes (24.6%)

Rick Santorum 30,007 (24.5%)

Ron Paul 26,219 (21.4%)

Newt Gingrich 16,251 (13.3%)

Rick Perry 12,604 (10.3%)

Michele Bachmann 6,073 (5.0%)

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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