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Santorumís Quiet 2016 Campaign: Heís planning another insurgency
National Review ^ | 06/18/2013 | Robert Costa

Posted on 06/18/2013 5:25:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Almost everybody has written off Rick Santorum as a 2016 contender — everybody, that is, except Rick Santorum.

Behind the scenes, the former Pennsylvania senator is quietly preparing for another presidential run. Trips to Iowa are in the works, he’s meeting daily with his advisers, and he’s already fine-tuning his message for the early primaries.

Hints of that pitch came last Thursday during a fiery speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s summer conference. Santorum cast himself as a populist conservative. “When all you do is talk to people who are owners,” he warned, the GOP becomes nothing more than a social club for entrepreneurs.

For Santorum, it marked the start of his unofficial campaign. He tells me he plans to build upon his speech’s theme in the coming months, positioning himself as a conservative outsider.

“Some of the Wall Street folks have hijacked the party,” he says. “But we can’t just be a party that’s aligned with where the money comes from.”

Santorum, who started his career as a congressman from western Pennsylvania, says the Republican party has failed to connect with the voters who were the foundation of Ronald Reagan’s coalition. Too often, he says, it strains to appeal to blue bloods, rather than blue collars.

In speech after speech, he talks about how he can’t stand the power brokers from “big East Coast cities” who are trying to reshape the party. They don’t like him, either. “I wasn’t invited,” Santorum tells me, when I ask him whether he was part of Mitt Romney’s Republican retreat in Deer Valley, Utah, earlier this month. “I’m not against entrepreneurship, and I’m not against the policies of fiscal restraint, but we’ve got to find a way to talk to people about how they can improve their lives,” he says. “If you look at my career, I’ve been able to win in Democratic towns where people work in coal mines. We’ve got to find a way to become that kind of party again, to win those towns.”

Santorum complains that the press is, naturally, ignoring his efforts to shift the GOP toward the working class. “Of course they dismiss me,” he says. “They don’t want to take me seriously.” But he believes his message will gradually win support.

“I’ve always thought that the Republican party can do well with the middle of America, with people that work hard and have a family,” he says. “They want a party that’s on their side, a party that’s economically inclusive. We’ve got to show them that we have a heart and that our policies create opportunity.”

That’s why he’s going back to Iowa in August. It’s Santorum’s first trip there since the election. He’ll headline a fundraising dinner for the Lyon County GOP and attend the state fair in Des Moines. “I can’t wait to reacquaint myself,” he says. “It’ll probably be too warm to wear a sweater vest, but I’ll have it ready in my suitcase.”

Clad in that sweater vest, Santorum rode his Rust Belt rhetoric to a surprise victory in last year’s Iowa Republican caucuses. He ended up winning ten more primary contests, giving Romney, the eventual Republican nominee, a serious headache.

Repeating that insurgency in 2016 will be difficult, but Santorum’s team is ready to give it a try. His longtime strategist, John Brabender, stays close, as does Mark Rodgers, Santorum’s former Senate chief of staff.

Back in December, Brabender hosted a Christmas party in Northern Virginia for Santorum’s inner circle that served as a reunion — and as an informal strategy session. Over drinks at the River Creek Club in Leesburg, Va., the senator’s friends and allies debated the pros and cons of another run.

By midnight, the consensus was clear: “The boss,” as his friends call him, should jump into the 2016 race, if at all possible.

For now, Santorum’s nonprofit organization, Patriot Voices, is his chief vehicle for staying in play. He’s working to develop the group into a film and educational outfit that informs voters about issues he considers important.

Brabender tells me that more than 400 chapters of Patriot Voices are being formed. Those clusters of Santorum supporters will likely be important as he maneuvers to run again.

Nadine Maenza, the finance director for his 2012 campaign, has also been keeping the senator in touch with his major donors, including Foster Friess. According to several sources, Friess, the top financier of Santorum’s super PAC, has privately said that he’ll once again be a major backer.

“The presidential election is a long way away,” Santorum says. “I know we’re not on the front burner of anybody’s mind right now, and there’s a lot going on that’s getting people’s attention. But I’m going to stay out there, and you’ll see me in Iowa soon.”

— Robert Costa is National Review’s Washington editor.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2016; 2016gopprimary; potus; santorum; santorum2016
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1 posted on 06/18/2013 5:25:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Ho hum


2 posted on 06/18/2013 5:27:42 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Unindicted Co-conspirators: The Mainstream Media)
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To: SeekAndFind

Oh, dear. I like Mr. Santorum a lot, but as a candidate, he has not shown much staying power. He’s like a person who signs up for marathon after marathon, but never completes more than 8 miles of one.


3 posted on 06/18/2013 5:27:50 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Does Bill have a job yet?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Rick is an ass...... a loser ass.


4 posted on 06/18/2013 5:28:12 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Who will shoot Liberty Valence?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Depending on who runs, I’d vote for him again. He’s imperfect but head and shoulders above Romney in my book.


5 posted on 06/18/2013 5:28:14 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

I like Rick and he would have been a superior candidate vs. Romney.
I sent his campaign $100 but never did get the sweater vest...


6 posted on 06/18/2013 5:30:25 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (NRA Life Member)
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To: SeekAndFind

Nice guy, solid on the social issues, a little squishy on big government, though.

But, frankly, he just doesn’t have the charisma.

I want Allen West. He’s not afraid, and he’s got charisma.

Oh, and he’s a CITIZEN.


7 posted on 06/18/2013 5:31:28 AM PDT by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
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To: SeekAndFind

uh Rick

you did a fine job

the problem is more than that

yes, there is a perception that all Republicans are bloodless old white men

yes there is a perception that all Republicans are hillbilly bubbas (depending on which caricature suits the Democrats better)

what needs to happen is that Republicans get a rep for being people who are of integrity, know how to address problems in a smart and frugal way and who don’t get played for fools by the Democrats


8 posted on 06/18/2013 5:31:55 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: SeekAndFind

that explains why I keep getting the emails...


9 posted on 06/18/2013 5:33:23 AM PDT by schm0e ("we are in the midst of a coup.")
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To: SeekAndFind

Santorum and three or four more conservative candidates in the primaries will give us Jeb Bush or Chris Cristie as the nominee.

I don’t think Rick could ever win the nomination, but he could pull enough votes to help the RINO candidates win as McCain and Romney won while conservatives split their votes among several candidates.

Conservatives better decide on a candidate early in 2016, or we’ll get another RINO.


10 posted on 06/18/2013 5:33:56 AM PDT by Will88
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To: bert

RE: Rick is an ass...... a loser ass.

So, who would you vote for in a Santorum vs Clinton match?


11 posted on 06/18/2013 5:34:08 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: NonValueAdded

If a tree falls in the forest and on one is there, does it make any noise??

Actually I’d support him over about 70% of potential supposedly GOP candidates...er...make that 80% as Rubio just fell off my list.


12 posted on 06/18/2013 5:36:42 AM PDT by Mouton (108th MI Group.....68-71)
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To: yldstrk

RE: yes, there is a perception that all Republicans are bloodless old white men

yes there is a perception that all Republicans are hillbilly bubbas (depending on which caricature suits the Democrats better)

____________________________

Santorum will only be 58 in 2016

Santorum comes from the big city of Pittsburgh, not a hilly billy small town.


13 posted on 06/18/2013 5:37:09 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

yeah he’d be perfect, but the Republicans gotta put their money where their mouth is and come up with some frugal workable solutions to some thorny problems.

They gotta come up with how not to be seen as heartless, but the party of solutions that provide jobs and economic opportunity for all


14 posted on 06/18/2013 5:39:08 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: SeekAndFind

To combat Romney ~ early 2012 we had two losers : Newt and Santorum both failures with not surprising results.

I fear we will see the same repeat with Rubio in the Romney slot this time,


15 posted on 06/18/2013 5:41:40 AM PDT by sickoflibs (To GOP : Any path to US citizenship IS putting them ahead in line. Stop lying about your position.)
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To: SeekAndFind; Jim Robinson

Here we go agin....

Free Republic is out of the activism business these days, but between now and say july 2015 shoud reactivate the force and ability.

Specifically, Free Republic should begin active discussion on the best way to design and then implement a conservative presidential primary. By the time the 2016 Republican primary is held up there should be one preselected conservative candidate.

The debacle of 2012 must not be repeated. So long as conservatives kill each other in the pre Republican primary battles the dissention will again assure no conservative Republican Presidential candidate.


16 posted on 06/18/2013 5:42:24 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Who will shoot Liberty Valence?)
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To: Mouton

the sound of one hand clapping


17 posted on 06/18/2013 5:43:07 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Unindicted Co-conspirators: The Mainstream Media)
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To: SeekAndFind

That is a joke.....

It will never come to pass


18 posted on 06/18/2013 5:43:09 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Who will shoot Liberty Valence?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Santorum is one of the mostly good guys.

He has his shortcomings, but of the last round of candidates I would rate him right below Palin, and maybe Rick Perry.

Would very much like to see Palin and Cruz both run next time.


19 posted on 06/18/2013 5:43:38 AM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network
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To: SeekAndFind

The dude has a point re: the obtuseness of the GOPe, but who doesn’t?

As a presidential candidate, however, he’s a liability for the cause—both playing into the worst stereotype about the priggish Republican and splitting the conservative vote in a way that helps the chosen RINO candidate.

In both ways, his ego is the problem.


20 posted on 06/18/2013 5:44:27 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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