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37B Republicans Favor Santorum in Straw Poll

Former senator from Pennsylvania gets 190 votes, more than closest two competitors combined.

The results of caucuses Tuesday night in District 37B—which includes Rosemount and Eastern Apple Valley—pretty closely mirrored results from around the state.

Rick Santorum won with 44.8 percent of the vote, the exact percentage of statewide results, with 75 percent of precincts reporting as of 11 p.m. Tuesday. Ron Paul was a distant second with 21.5 percent, followed by Mitt Romney (18.9) and Newt Gingrich (14.9).

Paul fared a bit better statewide, taking 27.2 percent, again with just 75 percent of precincts reporting, followed by Romney (17.1) and Gingrich (10.6).

For 37A, which includes western Apple Valley and part of Burnsville, the results were similar at Eastview High School: Santorum 45 percent, Paul 24.9, Romney 19.3, Gingrich 10.8.

But the most disappointing number of the night for Rosemount Republicans was 424, the total number of voters who took part in the presidential straw poll.

“I expected a lot more,” said House District 37B chair Jerry Ewing.

At the beginning of the night, Ewing said the caucus usually draws “about a thousand” people, but between the 424 at Rosemount and the 404 from the other half of the district, the number was only about 828.

And that number dwindled considerably after the presidential straw poll. In Rosemount's Sixth Precinct for example, 25 voters started the meeting, but that number was down to 19 after the straw poll, which was one of the first items on the agenda.

A number of caucus-goers seemed surprised to learn that it was not like a primary or general election, where voters show up, cast their ballot and leave the polling place without any interaction with their fellow voters.

Ewing attributed that to the high number of first-time caucus-goers that seem to turn out every two years.

“I'm always surprised when they ask that question and 60 percent seem to be new people,” Ewing said. “A little bit of that is this is a high-traffic area, with a constant churn of new people.”

Alex Woodworth was one of those newcomers, having moved to the district recently when he enrolled at the University of Minnesota.

“This is the first time I've ever voted,” said Woodworth, who initially showed up around 5:30 p.m. for the caucus, which did not start until 7 p.m. “I've been following all the debates and I find it interesting. This is a critical time for our country.”

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