Skip to comments.Santorum Showing Signs of Life in Iowa
Posted on 12/21/2011 11:25:00 AM PST by Antoninus
Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has started to show signs of life, and GOP kingmakers in Iowa say the former senator has an outside shot of winning the caucus next month.
While the large religious conservative voting bloc remains split between Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, many experts in the state say Santorum has more structure and momentum than the other two and could coalesce enough support to win the state.
However, hes failed to break through in polling, barely making it out of the single digits. And if evangelical Christian voters, who make up the majority of caucus voters, remain divided, that could hand another contender the victory.
But Santorum got a powerful boost on Tuesday with an endorsement by Bob Vander Plaats, one of Iowas most powerful social conservatives.
The former Pennsylvania senator has spent more time in the state than any other candidate, is closely aligned ideologically with the states large number of religious conservatives, and has rolled out a number of endorsements from local Republican activists in recent days.
A strong showing by Santorum would echo former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabees (R) late come-from-behind victory in Iowa. Huckabees move to the top came shortly after Thanksgiving, while Santorum has not yet shown that surge. But some say its not too late.
The guy on the move is Santorum. Hes shown movement in terms of lining up these endorsements and people who can move voters, and showing movement on the ground, said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party, who is not endorsing a candidate. Hes got major endorsements rolling in, hes got his super-PAC advertising, hes got his own TV ad up. His campaign is starting to show that theres indisputable proof that theres momentum. ... Bachmann and Perry are showing activity and calling it momentum.
Santorum has slowly but steadily risen in the polls, unlike Bachmann, Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, all of whom soared before sputtering. He was in a three-way tie for fourth place with Perry and Bachmann at 10 percent in the latest poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, just four points behind Gingrich.
Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have led recent polls, but most observers in Iowa say the two have hard ceilings of support and are unlikely to be able to expand much on their current bases of about 20 percent of the vote, leaving any candidate who can catch a late spark within striking distance.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a conservative kingmaker in the state, predicted that a large number of social conservatives would remain swayable up through the election, and campaign infrastructure would make the difference. King, who has not endorsed but is close with Bachmann, said that Santorum and Bachmann would benefit from that.
The support is going to flow on caucus night to the candidate or candidates who are best organized on the precinct level, he said. Whoever can deploy a couple thousand good speakers out there to each one of those places who are compelling can make a difference because there will be a lot of undecideds sitting out there. At this point it looks to me like Santorum has the best structure and Bachmann is closing on that right now. Those two structures are the two best in the state.
Vander Plaats heaped praise on Santorums record on Tuesday, and on Saturday called Bachmann and asked that she drop out of the race (she refused). He is popular with Iowas conservatives, led the successful fight to remove three Iowa Supreme Court justices after they legalized gay marriage, and ran for governor in 2010, nearly winning the GOP primary against popular Gov. Terry Branstad (R).
He received nearly 100,000 votes in that race, almost as many voters as usually turn out for the GOP presidential caucuses.
Its a meaningful endorsement and one which Im sure Michele Bachmann wished she could have received, said Danny Carroll, a social conservative activist and Bachmann supporter in the state. It would be a mistake to write Rick Santorum off; it would be inaccurate. You cant have the kind of support and endorsements Sen. Santorum has received and not be a serious competitor.
What’s not to like?
Almost everything about him screams anti establishment...that’s what I love about him!
Joe Biden says He’s well spoken and clean too! I love Rick Santorum for President and would bet dollars to donuts Sarah endorses him if he gets more steam.
Santorum is decidedly the most dedicated Christian of the three: pro-family, pro-life, and pro-morality. But he is a Catholic, and it depends whether the Evangelicals are willing to recognize what he stands for.
Newt is also Catholic, now. But, I must say, not my kind of Catholic. I cannot judge his private life, but I will say that he does not strike me as having a firm moral foundation for public life.
Perry says he is a good Evangelical. I rather doubt it, from what I have seen. But he could suck votes away from the other Rick.
I think Santorum is the best of the bunch, unless Palin returns. But I don’t know if he has the polical strength necessary. Still, you can trust him, and I don’t trust any of the other current contenders.
This is going to be Huckabee all over again, all he is doing is getting Romney the nomination.
Let’s be honest. Bachmann, Santorum or Perry are the only options.
NewtRomney is unacceptable. Their main difference is hair and religion.
I think I’ll send him some money........he’s at the top of my list among the “lower tier” of candidates. Hope to see him rise to the tippy top!
I am a Pennsylvanian, he began his POTUS tour in Somerset, Pennsylvania, I was there, small crowd, he does not have the votes he will need..he is very weak politically, he didn't even try fighting for his Senate seat...nice guy, not Presidential.
Santorum is the textbook definition of “Nice Guys Finishing Last”
Sad to say, but it is true.
I think what we really need is a complete “B@$t@rd with a heart of Gold”.
Not sure who fits that ticket... yet...
Newt comes close but he is too much of a progressive for my taste.
I don’t know, I think Toomey is a pretty solid conservative who helped to author a pretty good sentate bill for reducing the deficit. The DADT statements was just an admission of reality unfortunately. In any case, he is infinitely better than Specter.
Rick refusing to endorse the much more conservative Pat Toomey over RINO Senator Arlen Specter during Pat’s first run for U.S. Senate, Rick’s bad defeat to, now, Senator Bob Casey, and his personality (”I’m the only one of the candidates for ‘12 President to do ...!” “I was the first one to do ... on this issue!”)-making Rick appear as arrogant and rude-are problems for Rick.
Santorum has two really big things going against him.
First he was a ‘senator’ and is still called as such. Obama & McCain saw to it that the senate is no place to find a president whether it’s earned or not.
Secondly he was also pro-Arlen Spectacle (see first point) for which many will never forgive him and he’s still paying an awful price for that in flyover country.
I like Santorum. Really I do. But I think he isn’t going anywhere in the polls because he lacks the money and political machinery to compete with the big guys - right now Romney and Gingrich. The same is true of Bachmann.
Like it or not, and I don’t particularly do, we will have to choose between ROmney and Gingrich unless someone better suddenly appears and I DON’T mean Chris Christie.
But this has been a roller coaster of a race and who knows. Stranger things have happened and we may be chosing between Santorum and Romney - and THAT is NO CONTEST and a no brainer in my opinion. See my tagline.
Nice guy, conservative, so he has to be trashed like the rest of the conservatives running.