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Santorum Helps Keep Colorado In Play In GOP Race

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Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, at left, and Rick Santorum (Credit: Getty)

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, at left, and Rick Santorum (Credit: Getty)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is the latest in a very long string of Republican flavors of the week to challenge Mitt Romney and used that new status to surge to a razor thin finish in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday.

RELATED: Iowa caucus results: Mitt Romney beats Rick Santorum by 8 votes

While the national pundits continue to discuss how the results in Iowa may affect the upcoming races in New Hampshire and South Carolina, a key state no one has discussed yet is the upcoming key battle in Colorado.

Colorado’s Republican caucus will occur on Feb. 7. While Colorado shares that date with Minnesota, and six other states will precede Colorado’s vote, Rick Santorum’s finish in Iowa may help to ensure that the race isn’t over by the time it rolls to Colorado.

Even though the 2012 race to become the Republican Presidential nominee may already seem interminable, the fact is that many primary races in the past have all but ended after the first two or three contests.

And even though Mitt Romney should still have the clear advantage after the first few contests in 2012, Rick Santorum’s performance has guaranteed that at least a few Republicans believe that there may be another option to Romney out there.

Overall, the fact that the race and the competition should continue is good news for Colorado Republicans and general voters in the state.

Because Colorado’s Republican voters should still matter on Feb. 7, candidates and their campaigns will bring considerable resources to bear in our state. Because GOP candidates will bring those resources to our state, and therefore will build a fairly significant network for the eventual nominee, President Barack Obama will be even more motivated to bolster his own network in the Centennial State.

RELATED: Colorado GOP Gearing Up For February Caucuses

All of that building up should reinforce Colorado’s status as a swing state throughout 2012. Even though our status as a swing state has all but been assured, a competitive GOP primary means that our swing state status will start much earlier in 2012. That means we will see more and hear more from the candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

That kind of exposure will also mean that Colorado issues should get more national attention since most visits to Colorado will be covered by the national press. That’s good news for issues important to Coloradans.

While Iowa still represents the first round of the undercard fight in the big picture, what it represents for Colorado is significant.

Colorado is the seventh round of this fight. Since Rick Santorum prevented a knockout in Iowa, Colorado’s round should be very entertaining.

Because Iowa was a photo finish, most of the country and indeed many of the candidates, will want to stick around to see how this fight turns out.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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