Rick Santorum (AP)
Senator Rick Santorum (R) defeated his competitors in El Paso County during Tuesday night's caucuses in Colorado. Early returns suggest Santorum won in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri Tuesday.
Santorum was the clear winner in El Paso county, outscoring Mitt Romney by more than1700 votes. Romney entered Tuesday's contests with back-to-back wins in earlier caucuses. Tuesday, registered Republicans spent their evening comparing notes on the GOP candidates in caucuses around Colorado.
They also cast their choice in a straw poll.
A large group showed up to Wasson Highschool, some attending their first caucus, wanting to make their voice heard.
"We know we need to do it this time," said Patti Brown. "We need to be strong and get out and do it."
More than 10,500 voters showed up for the El Paso County caucuses, which nearly tied a record set in 2008. Mitt Romney won soundly in Colorado that year.
By the time the majority of the votes were recorded in El Paso County, Republicans called the outcome a good sign for all voters early in the election season.
"The twists and turns in this campaign are pretty exciting for us," said Bill Roy, Chief Operating Officer for the El Paso County Republican Party. "We're getting a good look at all of the candidates, and by the time we get a nominee we will have looked, vetted, and decided."
Here now is a look at the El Paso County results reported late Tuesday night. 197 of 199 Precincts reporting:
Rick Santorum: 5102
Mitt Romney: 3347
Newt Gingrich: 1300
Ron Paul: 1058