Five and a half months ago, on a cold night in Council Bluffs, I wrote from the bar at Quaker Steak & Lube that Ron Paul might have just won Iowa, in a sense.
"Ron Paul might send more Iowa delegates to Tampa than any other candidate," I wrote, based on reports from county chairmen for the Paul campaign, that Paul's people disproportionately were named delegates to the county conventions.
The process that began just after the January straw vote (which resulted in a Romney-Santorum tie) culminated yesterday. In a raucous state convention, captured in this liveblog by anti-Ron Paul Republican Kevin Hall, Iowa Republicans named their 25 elected delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer. All but four of those 25 are Paulistas.
4:45 pm – BIG NEWS: The At-Large delegate slate PASSES. That means Ron Paul takes 21 of Iowa’s 25 elected delegates. The other three are our National Committeeman Steve Scheffler, National Committeewoman Kim Lehman and RPI Chairman AJ Spiker.
Another three Iowa delegates are party officials, meaning Ron Paul won Iowa 21 to 28, if you're counting delegates.
Of course, the primary importance of Iowa is as a straw vote. Santorum's tie/win/close second in the January vote was what affirmed him as the anti-Romney. Perry, Bachmann, Cain, and many Gingrich voters saw the caucus results and said to themselves, "if we're going to stop Romney, I guess Santorum's our guy."
But in the nuts-and-bolts question of who won Iowa's delegates -- the Paulistas showed impressive persistence and organization. And yes, in a sense, Ron Paul just won Iowa.