Skip to comments.Romney still must woo conservatives even with Santorum gone
Posted on 04/15/2012 2:47:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
The exit of Rick Santorum from the Republican presidential primary essentially clears the path Mitt Romney is traveling to become the party's nominee against U.S. President Obama in November but Romney still has to win the hearts of GOP voters as well as the party's nomination.
Romney had 573 delegates per the Republican National Committee's count to Santorum's 202 delegates when the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania withdrew last week. But he has yet to stir a fire in the belly of the party's evangelical and conservative wings as he moves closer to the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the nomination.
"Some of Santorum's delegates will immediately shift to Romney, some will gradually shift, and a hard core group will probably go to another candidate or remain uncommitted," political commentator Steven Schier of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., said. "This last group will probably not be large enough to disrupt a Romney coronation at the convention."
The final Gallup poll conducted during the party preference process, released last week, indicated Romney is the preferred presidential candidate of 42 percent of Republicans polled nationwide, among the lowest measured in a final primary poll since 1972, Gallup said. Santorum was the choice of 24 percent of Republicans in the poll completed before he made his announcement, the Princeton, N.J., pollster said.
Even though he trailed -- badly -- in money and delegates, Santorum's strong performance created a sometimes bruising primary campaign. Santorum won 11 states before he bowed out ahead of his home state's primary April 24 where several polls indicated Santorum held a slim single-digit lead over Romney and one survey showed Romney leading Santorum.
Santorum's withdrawal cleared the way for Republicans to rally around Romney, and three prominent conservatives, Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rick Scott of Florida, and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania endorsed Romney hours after Santorum announced his departure.
Conservative leaders who had rallied around Santorum's campaign, however, have raised doubts that faction of the Republican Party could readily embrace Romney, seen by that wing as too moderate, The New York Times reported.
Conservative activist Richard Viguerie was blunt, especially since Romney unleashed a barrage against Santorum and other conservative candidates.
"After having destroyed every conservative that came on the scene," Viguerie said, "you can't say 'You have to line up behind me.' No, no, no. Conservatives are not going to jump until they hear where Governor Romney wants to take everybody."
"I just think it's going to be a much harder lift to take someone who seems like a moderate and try to get conservatives excited about it," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told CNN.
Perkins said Romney shouldn't expect to collect the same type of support Santorum got if the former Massachusetts governor doesn't fully embrace the principles of the socially conservative organization.
"And so if the party is moving in a different direction, we are not going there," Perkins said. "The only reason there was an alignment with Rick Santorum from our constituency is because Rick embraced the ideas, the policies and the principles that our organization and our constituency believes in and so to the degree that one candidate or another aligns with that, they're going to find support. If they don't, they're not going to get the unbridled enthusiastic support that Rick Santorum enjoys."
Even though Santorum's departure removes the last major stumbling block to Romney's nomination two other candidates -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas -- said they would stay in the race until the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., with each claiming he represents the conservative alternative.
Without flat-out saying Gingrich and Paul should end their bids, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told CNN, "I think they should all look at the math."
"Gingrich and Paul may remain on the stump, but they will receive relatively limited media attention because the nomination contest is essentially over," Schier said. "Romney's challenge regarding these candidates is obtaining their strong personal support by the convention so that he can launch the fall campaign without a divided party."
Gingrich and Paul both have personal agendas they want to bring to the fore, Schier said.
"For Paul, it is libertarianism. For Gingrich, it is strong social and fiscal conservatism," the commentator said. "For these reasons, they remain at least nominally active candidates. It would be best for Romney if both candidates dropped out and endorsed him, but neither is likely to create considerable disruption at the convention."
Romney and Santorum traded vitriol throughout the campaign, but former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a leader on Romney's campaign team, said he expected Santorum to rally behind Romney.
"[We] need all of the pieces to come together to make this a successful campaign," said Pawlenty, who abandoned his bid to be the GOP nominee after the Iowa straw poll last summer. "But ... there's a grand tradition of people competing hard for party nominations" then uniting against a common foe.
Priebus said told CNN he believed Republicans would be "100 percent unified behind our nominee."
"I think time heals some wounds," the RNC leader said. "And I also think that over time, over the next several weeks, I think our party gets completely unified."
The main challenge for Romney within the GOP is "generating enthusiasm among the evangelicals and strong conservatives who have thus far disdained him," Schier said. "He needs their strong support in the form of volunteer hours and campaign contributions. He will be conducting an outreach over the next several months to secure that support because he needs their support to be competitive with President Obama this fall."
I am “banking” my political fires.
I will sit this one out until election day and I will vote for Romney if I have to, but I do not expect much from Romney in the way of Conservative politics and will not send him a penny.
ALL CONSERVATIVES SHOULD VOTE OBAMA AND DESTROY THE GOP.
So you’ve decided the GOP Primary has stopped and anyone who is still behind a non-Romney candidate will be the cause of U.S. troop deaths?
You think wrong.
But Romney’s got what voters crave... He’s got electability.
If they vote Obama, they are by definition not conservatives. They would be the wacko far right wing.
The GOP-e destroyed itself when it foisted Romney on us as it’s chosen nominee and worked to destroy conservatives across the board to ensure it.
Americans even here have absolutely no clue what time it is. But the Ruling Class oligarchs in the new order have you all dancing to their tune and singing their song to keep the illusion alive.
By the time most wake up to what time it really is, there isn’t going to be time enough to save themselves.
Amazing the bs that Fox and the GOP-e keep feeding us.
It is tempting. Obama is the perfect anvil to hammer the GOP-e against in this massive political game of chicken. The Monied Mormon better not stray to far left or piss me off over the next 6 months. I may vote against him because I am a vindictive A##Hole.
Yep - makes one wonder how long it takes for a real conservative to become corrupt. Both Rubio and Jindal have taken steps to the Left and one must assume they were faking the conservative spiel, are hooking their wagons to what they think will further their political career despite damaging the Nation, or both.
We were so quick to get solidly behing both of them as minority "conservatives" and never really vetted them through all the fawning.
Romney is toxic and is ruining everything. Think how this primary would have gone without Willard’s involvement.
It is downright scary how true your statement is.
Romney should have run as a Democrat. I still don't see anything he did as Governor of MA that qualifies him to receive the votes of conservatives.
His "severely Conservative" values have as much stability as a drawing in an Etch-a-Sketch.
Even his campaign advisors have admitted as much.
Newt to Tampa!
I am waiting to see if Newt has a hope in hell, before considering whether I have become an enemy of the GOP, full bore.
As a Republican of national stature, it is expected that Santorum will eventually endorse Romney. His interview with Greta was interesting, though. I watched it. Greta asked him about endorsing Romney. He sidestepped the question and mentioned something about other candidates still being in the race. He did not endorse Romney during this first TV interview since he dropped out. Although nothing specific was said, it was obvious that Santorum was not enthusiastic about Romney.
I think that Santorum will eventually endorse Romney. It is what is expected of major players in the Republican Party. He may even talk about enthusiastic support for him. But it is obvious also that such an endorsement will be a reluctant one.
If they vote Obama, they are by definition not conservatives>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Not true. Conservatives followed your logic in 2008, 2010, but NOW?
They will vote revenge.The GOP have betrayed conservatives twice and will not a third.
And most conservatives would rather have Obama than Romney, simply because it will reveal to the nation the dangers of liberal fascism.Its time for a showdown.And then the GOP dies, as it should.
Yep. I certainly agree with you about Greta. She puts all others to shame.
There is no revenge.
There is merely irrational, mindless stupidity in voting for Obama
You are right aboout Santorum.
Turht be told, Romney is the antithesis to all of Rick’s values.
Rick is passionately pro-life—how can he support someone who gave MA the $ 50 abortion?
How can he support a man who was passionately pro-choice until someone gave him an Etch-a-Sketch?
What Rick does will forever speak volumes about his true character and his true purpose in this race.
To me, there is a clear choice—suppport Newt to stop Romney.
Romney is worse than McCain, and McCain was the biggest black eye the GOP-E ever gave to us and to America.
Their abuse has to end.
‘________informed ahead of time that Sarah Palin is appearing_______’
No one informed you Sarah-with-an-h was on at 9pm Pacific, Saturday? Not that I really knew, either. So glad I caught it.
She co-hosted a show with Eric Bolling (the stutterer(sp?!) well, when he’s on ‘The Five.’ He was better here. There was a live audience.
Subject was mostly OIL.
Sarah was SMASHing!!! At ease. Very good at co-hosting.
Oh - and beautiful!!!
Can see the ‘pro’ in her.
I will never vote for a radical liberal, not Romney and not Obama.
I will find an acceptable, reasonable conservative in this race for whom to vote.
My sense is that it will be the Constitution Party candidate.
Conservatives voting for a conservative will send all the messsage we need to send. I will not focus on message sending. I’ll focus on actually winning.
Last night’s was a replay of Friday’s show which I TIVO’d!
Yes, I agree with your every word and your spelling is perfect!
She’s the absolute best!!!