There’s a whole lot of punditry who have been singing the inevitability of Mitt Romney because for the first time in history a single candidate won both Iowa and New Hampshire in an open race.  The narrative was stupid — because on election night Romney was ahead by only 8 votes — but a highly effective tool for Romney.

Turns out Romney did not win Iowa.  Rick Santorum may have, but we’ll never know for sure because there will be no certified winner due to missing voting records in 8 precincts.  That said, of the votes that could be certified Santorum edged out Romney:

It’s a tie for the ages.

There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage.

Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, although not all the changes affected the two leaders. Changes in one precinct alone shifted the vote by 50 — a margin greater than the certified tally.

The certified numbers: 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney. The turnout: 121,503.

If the narrative of winning two in a row was so important, will that narrative now be withdrawn?