Santorum sweeps, Nolan on top in 8th with Anderson close 2nd

Santorum swoops in to win Minnesota

Duluth News Tribune: “Northland Republicans joined those caucusing across Minnesota on Tuesday night in giving a strong nod to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to take on President Obama in November.” MPR News: “Santorum supporter Ed Bird turned out at the Coon Rapids caucus because the candidate is the most conservative of the field, he said. ‘I think he’s absolutely got more conservative values,’ Bird said. ‘He’s a good religious person, a strong person of conviction.'”

Photos from the night.

Nolan DFL frontrunner, Anderson close

Duluth News Tribune: “DFL loyalists across Northeastern Minnesota gave their early nod to Rick Nolan to try to retake the 8th Congressional District from freshman Republican Chip Cravaack, although former Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson was showing strong support in Duluth and the Iron Range. Nolan, of Emily in Crow Wing County, was the favorite among DFL party regulars and activists heading into Tuesday night’s precinct caucuses. With about two-thirds of the straw polls counted, Nolan had 1,088 votes to Anderson’s 642, with about 200 for former State Sen. Tarryl Clark and nearly 200 undecided.”

GOP caucuses put issues to real test

Star Tribune: “Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to have a photo ID made their point Tuesday.”

Nationally, Romney’s bad day is Santorum’s best

AP: “Republican Rick Santorum is looking to capitalize on a string of stunning victories that snapped his four-state losing streak and raised new questions about front-runner Mitt Romney’s clout with conservatives.”

Washington Post: Tuesday was an embarrassing night for Mitt Romney, and nowhere was that more true than in Minnesota.

This was a state where the former Massachusetts governor had nearly everything going for him:

* He won the state in the 2008 presidential race by 18 points.

* He had the backing of the state’s two most high-profile Republicans, former governor Tim Pawlenty and former senator Norm Coleman. This is in contrast to his last two wins in Florida and Nevada, where the most high-profile Republicans kept their powder dry.

* And unlike the Missouri primary, which he also lost on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich was on the ballot in Minnesota, potentially stealing votes from Rick Santorum.

But despite all that, with nearly half of the vote in, Romney is in a distant third place, far behind even second-place Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and taking only about one in every six votes in tonight’s Minnesota caucuses.

Op-Ed: Mitt Romney has reason to be concerned

National Review: “Mitt Romney’s campaign will have lots of explanations for their man’s poor showing tonight. … What Romney won’t be able to explain away is just how much more poorly he did tonight in those three states than in his 2008 showing — when he lost the GOP nomination for president.”

Legacy funds being used to cover cuts in conservation

Star Tribune: “Critics say the shift is a misinterpretation of voters’ will in passing amendment.”

St. Paul district, teachers’ union tout deal

Pioneer Press: “The St. Paul district and its teachers’ union will make a joint push for smaller classes – if they can line up the dollars to hire 66 extra teachers.”

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