The chairman of the Iowa Republican party has said Mitt Romney has won the Iowa caucus by eight votes.
Chairman Matt Strawn made the announcement of the razor-thin margin in the opening contest in the campaign to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama in Des Moines.
Mr Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, narrowly edged out former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
Mr Strawn said Mr Romney received 30,015 votes and Mr Santorum 30,007.
No matter how close the final results in Iowa, there were no plans for a recount.
Iowa has an uneven record when it comes to predicting national winners. It sent Mr Obama on his way in 2008, but eventual Republican nominee John McCain finished a distant fourth to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
The 100,000 or so voters in the Republican caucuses are disproportionately white and more conservative than the overall American electorate.
Unlike in a primary, in which voting occurs over hours, the Iowa caucuses were meetings held in schools, churches and other locations where Republicans gathered for an evening of politics.
Each presidential candidate was entitled to have a supporter deliver a speech on his or her behalf before straw ballots were taken.
Mr Romney, who finished second in Iowa in 2008 despite a costly effort, initially campaigned cautiously this time around. But that changed in the race’s final days as he pursued a first-place finish, running as a conservative businessman with the skills to fix the economy.
This time, he drew a smaller share of the vote than the 25.2% he received in 2008.
His rivals argued that he was not nearly conservative enough on the economy and social issues such as abortion and gay rights.
Democrats watched carefully in a state that has swung between the two parties in recent presidential elections.
Mr Obama was unopposed for his party’s nomination. Even so, his re-election campaign set up eight offices across Iowa, made hundreds of thousands of calls to voters and arranged a video conference for the president with caucus night supporters.
“This time out is going to be in some ways more important than the first time,” he told Democrats across the state. “Change is never easy.”
The state’s lead-off spot has been a fixture for decades. Democrats moved the caucuses up to early January in 1972, and Republicans followed suit four years later.
Irish Examiner live news app for smartphones lets you quickly access breaking news, sport, business, entertainment and weather.
Irish Examiner ePaper app gives you the entire newspaper delivered to your phone or tablet for as little as 55c a day.
IF you're not a big fan of fantasy and despair at all the wizards and dragons on TV, on film and in books, then you should blame John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Or, go back 1,000 years and blame the unknown author of Beowulf, with its monsters and kings. Or, go back another two millennia and blame Homer's epic tales of gods and heroes.
IRFU chiefs fear any boycott of the Heineken Cup or a similar European competition by English and/or French clubs could result in a €12m hit and place the union and the four provinces in a perilous financial position.
THEATRICAL stalwart Catherine Mahon-Buckley has surely earned the title of Mammy of Cork pantomime season now that she is directing her 20th seasonal show for the Everyman. Mahon-Buckley is directing Jack and the Beanstalk for the theatre, and says that every five years, a new generation emerges.
SCIENCE and art don't always make the easiest bedfellows. However, when photographer Mick Mackey travelled to the sub-Antarctic island of Bird Island for a 30-month stint as a field biologist he was able to utilise his eye for detail to capture images that are not only technically proficient, but also vibrant, occasionally quirky and highly evocative.
Contrary to the minority, it was indeed a year of progress for the Cork hurlers; a first championship victory over Kilkenny since 2004, the unearthing of new talent in Séamus Harnedy and an end to their seven-year absence from the September showpiece.