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."
The Man With The Plan Can!
After that many years of lying, I doubt he even knows.
Was that an Idiocracy reference?
Kiss this baby, Mittens!
As in, give us a lobotomy.
“The GOP doesnt even KNOW there is a war.”
I agree on the fascism although it is actually homegrown Anerican Progressive, but there is no war. This is GOP teamwork with the Democrats. Both parties will work in tendem to stir this up until some flashpoint, then FedCare Inc. will clamp down on all Americans. They will have arrived at their destination then. Have you not seen the emerging police state apparatus that EVERY administration has been adding to in the past quarter century?
There is no accident that one of these candidates comes from a ‘black liberation theology’ ‘church’, and the other is from a historically ‘white and delightsome’ ‘church’. This is theater, and these men are props.
I can see the PSA spots now, as GHW Bush and WJB Clinton sit on a couch together, taking turns speaking their lines about calm, order, and unity during the ‘temporary’ crisis, and the need to control ‘extreme’ rhetoric and actors on both sides.
Think like a condescending elitist looking down on a game board , and see how this picture changes. This is the perspective from which they are viewing this cycle. Remember the photo of Bush 1, Bush 2.5 and Obama sitting together, relaxed and laughing? Why so friendly? Why are they even gathered together? Right, left, center, we are all being played in the base. The real rivalry is top/down, not left/right. That is why they are laughing. That is why they are relaxed and cordial with one another.
Thank you for stating the most obvious and critical dynamic in this year's election. Conservatives want Obama not simply removed from office but tried for treason. This will happen under a veto proof Congress. Such a Congress is virtually assured in the coming election.
A Romney presidency will perpetuate and increase the current policies of Obama. In truth, the best way for Obama to protect his accomplishments is for Romney to defeat him.
It is not possible to underestimate the duplicity and lack of moral courage of Romney. He is vapid and deceitful. He will never garner the support of the moral majority.
A lobotomy would be another way that they could get me to pull the lever (press the touchscreen) for Willard. Or they could just kill me and have me vote from the grave.
Vivo Cristo Rey!
Is she still talking about Scott and Lacy Peterson? I gave up on her after about 18 months of that in a row.
I wish I could barf on command.. With cameras rolling I would walk right up and shake this phoney’s hand.
Does Romney have conscious? Either he is oblivious to the destruction and the moral conundrum he is putting the majority of the party in, which makes him incompetent to serve, or he knows and is evil. Either way my conscious will be clearer than the mAsshole's is going to be. But that is for the our Maker to decide in the end.
For some reason the old RINO inspired fear tactics are not working this time.
I am a vindictive A$$hole, once i flip to anti-GOP noting will change my mind. When I leave the GOP plantation it will be forever.
I don't think he is a phony at all. He is right up front in his trashing Conservatism and is distancing himself from the base. I read "him" Lima Charlie.
“Romney is as radically liberal as any candidate the democrats have ever run.”
He may not be as conservative as you or I, but that is ridiculous. You honestly think Romney is as far left as our Marxist President, a man raised by dedicated communists?