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Santorum: Possible Vote Count Error in Iowa Is No Big Deal

January 5, 2012: Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop with college students.AP

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is shrugging off reports Thursday night that the vote count from the Iowa caucuses may be wrong, saying the reported errors probably don't change the fact that Mitt Romney beat him, if only by a few votes. 

"Here's what I know," Santorum told Fox News. "Having talked to the chairman Matt Strawn, who is the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, that all these counties are going to be reporting in, they're going to be certifying them that there was one county where there was a 20-vote mistake in my favor but there was a 21-vote mistake in Romney's favor so it actually netted out to what I understand is a one-vote difference."

The difference, which Strawn late Thursday said was still being confirmed, nets a one-vote advantage to Romney. Santorum said it doesn't matter whether he lost by eight votes or nine to the former Massachusetts governor.

"That doesn't really matter to me. I mean, this was a tie," he said.

In a statement given to Fox News, Strawn said that state party officials would not respond to "every rumor, innuendo or allegation" as it certifies results during a two-week certification process. Romney and Santorum each had just over 30,000 votes out of more than 122,000 votes cast.

Nonetheless, Strawn said, state party officials had been in contact with GOP officials in Appanoose County but none had "any reason to believe the final, certified results of Appanoose County will change the outcome of Tuesday's vote."

Des Moines TV station KCCI reported that a Ron Paul backer attending his first precinct caucuses in Appanoose County, in southern Iowa, said the vote from his precinct was inaccurately reported and gave Romney 20 more votes than he actually received.

The Paul supporter, Edward True of Moulton, told The Associated Press that he helped count the ballots cast at his precinct caucuses and that Romney received two votes. True said he was shocked to see the official results on the Republican Party website showed Romney with 22 votes in the precinct.

"I assume somebody made a typographical error," he said in a telephone interview.

True said that when he contacted local Republican officials, "They said they would sort it out in the next couple of weeks, but how many primaries will have happened by that time?"

Santorum told Fox News that since his near-victory in Iowa, he has raised about $2 million, which he is applying in part to New Hampshire, the primary state next on the calendar. He added that he's "not worried" about poll numbers that show him far back against Mitt Romney since he was also way behind in polling in Iowa.

"I'm feeling pretty good that our numbers are going to be better than that here, with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. And we're having a great time going around Iowa -- oh! Going around Iowa! There, I did it!" he joked about misstating where he's campaigning. "I'm working on little less sleep than I normally do, so I please apologize for that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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