by Ralph Routon
As Tuesday night wore on without conclusive results from Colorado's Republican caucus, CNN and other outside media seemed certain that surely, at some point, Mitt Romney would pull out the victory over upstart Rick Santorum and preserve the equilibrium of this GOP presidential race.
Shortly after 10 p.m. our time, midnight on the East Coast, Romney actually did take the lead for the first time. Even Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush's first press secretary, was insisting on CNN that his sources were assuring him Romney would prevail.
But it didn't happen.
Instead, late returns including the numbers from Colorado Springs gave Santorum the stunning victory, completing the trifecta that began hours earlier with the former Pennsylvania senator's easy wins in Minnesota and Missouri.
El Paso County's totals: Santorum 5,061, Romney 3,325, Newt Gingrich 1,290, Ron Paul 1,054.
That adds up to 10,730 ... a nice round number, but perhaps disappointing, since county GOP leaders had been saying they expected a 15,000 turnout.
Something else worth mentioning: CNN's main reporters, Wolf Blitzer and John King, definitely did their best to further some outside assumptions about Colorado Springs. They repeatedly mentioned the fact that Focus on the Family is headquartered here, that we have a strong evangelical presence and that longtime Focus leader Dr. James Dobson had endorsed Santorum.
The state numbers, early this morning on the Denver Post's website:
Santorum.....26,580 40.2 percent
Romney.......23,097 34.9 percent
Gingrich........8,457 12.7 percent
Paul...............7,792 11.7 percent
We'll have more coverage today at csindy.com, and in Thursday's issue of the Independent.