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Politics

Rick Santorum Ramps Up Florida Outreach as 2016 Nears

March 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

Looking increasingly like a presidential candidate once again, former U.S Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., will hit Florida later this week despite two of his chief rivals hailing from the Sunshine State.

In spite of former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., testing the 2016 waters, Santorum will make a swing through Florida, offering an address to The Villages Conservative Action Group in The Villages on Friday night. On Saturday morning, Santorum will travel to Orlando to speak on Celebrating Faith, Family, and Freedom" at the Awakening Conference.

Later on Saturday, Santorum is scheduled to appear in South Carolina which traditionally holds its primary after Iowa and New Hampshire have their say. Santorum will speak to the National Security Action Summit in West Columbia on the war on terror. Taking the gloves off and going after President Barack Obama, Santorum offered a preview of that speech on Wednesday.

"I am excited to return to South Carolina to talk about the importance of defeating the radical Islamist threat that is committed to destroying our way of life, Santorum said. Our president has refused to not only take the steps necessary to defeat this enemy, but he has refused to educate himself on who our enemy is and acknowledge their end goals. I believe America can and will win this fight, but we must engage now with diplomatic and direct assistance to our allies, provide the necessary intelligence and air support in the Middle East, and ensure Iran never takes further steps to develop a nuclear weapon."

In the meantime, Santorum continues to staff up for a second presidential bid. Last week, Santorums Patriot Voices PAC hired Terry Allen as national field director. Allen is a longtime Republican strategist who has helped U.S. Sen. Tom Coburns, R-Okla., campaigns and worked for Santorums 2012 presidential bid.

While he narrowly edged former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., in the Iowa caucus back in 2012 and won 10 other state primaries and caucuses, Santorum was not much of a factor in the Florida primary, taking 13 percent and settling for a distant third. So far, Santorum has not done well in the early polls of Florida Republicans with most showing him in low to mid single digits.

Santorum is also planning to return to Florida in April. He is scheduled to speak at an event for the Womens Health Center in Jacksonville on April 16.


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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