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Ain't over yet: Could Santorum wind up the winner in Iowa?

The chairman of the Iowa Republican Party issued a statement Thursday night in response to a story from the Des Moines CBS affiliate, KCCI, which reports there was a 20-vote discrepancy in rural Appanoose county, which is located along the Missouri line.

Citing an interview with the vote counter, who asserts that 20 votes were mistakenly recorded for Mitt Romney, the story raises the question of whether the results of Tuesday's caucus might have been different -- and whether Rick Santorum should have won.

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Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement that Tuesday's results are unofficial. The state party is in the process of certifying results now. But Strawn says he does not believe the outcome will change.

"Iowa GOP officials have been in contact with Appanoose County Republican officials tonight and do not have any reason to believe the final, certified results of Appanoose County will change the outcome of Tuesday's vote," Strawn said.

The results must be certified within 14 days of the morning after the contest.

Also, remember, the Iowa caucus is non-binding, meaning delegates to the convention are not obligated to support the caucus winner. In other words, the caucus exists outside of the convention's nominating process.

Full statement below from Strawn:

"Iowa GOP rules provide for a two-week certification process for each of the 1,774 precincts. The Iowa GOP will announce the final, certified results of the 2012 Iowa Causes following this process. Out of respect to the candidates involved, party officials we will not respond to every rumor, innuendo or allegation during the two week process. That said, Iowa GOP officials have been in contact with Appanoose County Republican officials tonight and do not have any reason to believe the final, certified results of Appanoose County will change the outcome of Tuesday's vote."

Update ****

In an interview with Fox News, Santorum said he had been informed by Strawn that there were two errors in reporting, a 20-vote mistake in his favor and a 21-vote error in Romney's favor, which would give Romney a net gain of one vote on top of his 8-vote margin.  Of the potential mistake, Santorum said, "that doesn't really matter to me.  This was a tie."