Politics

Watch Rick Santorum: He Isn't Going Away

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: April 2, 2013 3:55 AM
Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum | Credit: Gage Skidmore - Flickr

In recent days, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania shows clear signs of making a second run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Despite fundraising problems, despite being dismissed by many political experts early in 2012, Santorum placed second in the Republican primaries behind Mitt Romney. Rallying social conservatives to his banner, Santorum took almost 4 million votes (more than 20 percent of all ballots cast) and won 11 primaries and caucuses, including edging Romney by 34 votes in Iowa.

An often caustic critic of Romney, Santorum’s name quickly resurfaced after the November election as a possible 2016 candidate. While he is not getting the national buzz other possible Republican candidates are, including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Santorum still retains part of his appeal. Last month he finished third behind Paul and Rubio at a straw pollheld at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Santorum also spent last week in South Carolina, which traditionally is next in line after Iowa and New Hampshire cast their votes. While most Republican hopefuls are avoiding the special election primary on Tuesday for an open congressional seat between disgraced former Gov. Mark Sanford and Curtis Bostic, Santorum is trying to help the conservative underdog to victory. Santorum endorsed Bostic last week and spent Wednesday campaigning in North Charleston and Summerville.

“Curtis' groundswell finish to a runoff spot signals a win for the strength of his grassroots supporters and his robust conservative values,” Santorum insisted. “We must continue that momentum for Curtis into the runoff election, and I look forward to joining conservatives across South Carolina in helping to elect Curtis Bostic to the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Santorum also is looking at another state that holds an early contest to determine the Republican presidential nominee -- Iowa. Santorum will be back in Iowa on April 15 speaking at two fundraisers, including offering the keynote for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, one of the largest religious and social conservative groups in the state.

Looking at these early events, it’s clear that the Santorum camp is already sketching up a path to the Republican nomination for their candidate. Santorum worked tirelessly in Iowa, campaigning across the state and building an impressive grassroots operation. If Santorum is going to win in 2016, he’ll need the same kind of success in Iowa.

New Hampshire is not exactly friendly territory for Santorum. He pulled only 9 percent there in 2012. Don’t expect Santorum to place as much focus there as he will Iowa and South Carolina. Still, he’ll need to improve on his showing from 2012.

Santorum placed a distant third in South Carolina in 2012 behind Newt Gingrich and Romney. But, as Gingrich’s hopes faded, Santorum rallied to win states across the South -- Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The conservative Santorum played better in the South than he did in his own region. The Santorum camp is hoping its candidate -- who will be far better known in 2016 than he was last time -- can build upon the 17 percent he took in South Carolina in 2012.

Still, Santorum will find it harder to run to Rubio’s right than he did Romney’s, having taken aim at Ron Paul a few times during the 2012 campaign. Santorum should be able to engage Rand Paul on foreign policy and other issues. Santorum’s unlikely rise in 2012 was helped by a procession of conservative candidates imploding on the campaign trail -- Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain. Santorum might need a little more of that luck in 2016, though he’s certainly better established than he was last time.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News. 

Comments (16)

ronalelg
7:36AM JUN 10TH 2013
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vgnietnly
10:12PM JUN 7TH 2013
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Bill
4:01PM APR 2ND 2013
Remind me to never visit the Sunshine State
Arvin Chan
3:42PM APR 2ND 2013
For all the social conservatives out there, it's over! You guys will never win the East and the West coasts. It's the rise of the young generation of social tolerance and fiscal responsibility. Santorum is going to lose again, came up 2nd after Mitt? Really? Fox News much? MSNBC much? Ron Paul came up 2nd in delegates in FL, when the GOP RINOs did a last minute change of convention rule. It's all ove "youtube" showing Boehner reading off a telepromoter in screwing Ron Paul and his delegates. The Liberty Movement will win, once our Bill of Rights need to be restored then we can argue for all we want about anything. Live Free/For Liberty 2016.
John
2:46PM APR 2ND 2013
Moderates and libertarians, ignore him at you own risk. Cause Santorum is as worthy a competitor as any of them.

Santorum 2016!
MLopez
2:36PM APR 2ND 2013
Rick SAntorum is the most well-rounded conservative in the potential GOP field. He has the ability to connect with Americans in all walks of life. I hope he runs for president in 2016
Frank
9:48PM APR 2ND 2013
Yes, we've seen "how well" he's connected with (i.e. demonized or alienated) women, immigrants, minorities, non-Catholics, the young, the elderly, government workers, teachers, scientists, meteorologists, moderate Republicans, the military (found them WMDs in Iraq yet that Santorum said you found) and Democrats . . . . . . . you know, the vast majority of Americans . . . .

Pathetic . . .
Emme30
1:26PM APR 2ND 2013
I would be thrilled if Rick Santorum ran again in 2016. I feel he is the best qualified out of the entire field. The people who supported him haven't forgotten him either. The ballroom at CPAC was packed when he spoke & received a standing ovation at the end of his speech. People behind me were calling out "Santorum 2016." His luncheon there was full! The bigger media outlets might try to deny it, but he is a contender & people do like him!
Frank
12:40PM APR 2ND 2013
Yes, America will take seriously as a Presidential candidate anyone who could proudly make these observations:

(1) "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country . . ." (Oct. 2011)

(2) "President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob . . . Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image." (Feb. 2012)

(3) “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up.” – On JFK's 1960 speech about the importance of separation of church and state (October 2011)

(4) “I think the Democrats are actually worried he (Obama) may go to Indonesia and bow to more Muslims.” (May, 2010)

(5) "The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American Left who hates Christendom. ... What I'm talking about is onward American soldiers. What we're talking about are core American values." (Feb. 2011)

I hope he's the Republican candidate in 2016 . . . . because he's so . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Luke
11:50AM APR 2ND 2013
Glad to see Rick still on the scene. nobody, NOBODY currently being mentioned for 2016 has as much in depth knkwledge on the issues than he does --- especially in terms of national security.
mrdude
5:23AM APR 2ND 2013
I'm rooting for Santorum. Right now the GOP is at war with itself. Rand Paul libertarians are fighting against the big spending defense hawks (eg: McCain) and the Santorum social conservatives. with the shift in views on social issues like gay marriage it will become increasingly difficult for social conservatives to win nationally. Placing second in last year's GOP primary does lend Rick some bona fides making the idea of a 2016 Santorum run not that far fetched. Reagan placed 2nd to Ford in the '76 GOP primary, H.W. Bush placed second to Reagan in '80, Dole was second to H.W. in '88, McCain was 2nd to W. in 2000, and Mitt was 2nd to McCain in 2008. With this historical precedent, and his own personal background, Rick could position himself as the leader of the Social conservatives. This would set up perfectly an inevitable battle between Santorum social conservatives and Rand Paul Libertarians--which younger conservatives tend to be more attracted to. The farther to the right people like Santorum or Ted Cruz try to take the party the more difficult it will be for main stream moderates like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie to corral them into a viable voting coalition enough to win nationally again. So I say bust out the sweater vest and go get 'em Rick!! ;-)
patriotmom61
11:07AM APR 2ND 2013
I'm right there with you mrdude. Santorum is THE man! Don't forget that had he been able to stay in the race he would have won upward of 20 states. Prior to suspending, he won more counties than all his opponents combined with the most meager of funds and manpower. The inspiring story behind the Santorum campaign needs to be told.

We lost in 2012 because the RNC, aided by Fox News, pre-selected and propped up a patriotic version of Thurston Howell lll to take on a charasmatic Marxist culture warrior. It was the mismatch of the century. Romney would not and could not counter Obama on the social and cultural issues Obama made central to his campaign because he had NO credibility on them. He cringed, bobbed, and weaved away from them--tragically ceding these issues to Obama. It takes a bold, articulate, passionate conservative culture warrior to take on and beat a culture warrior for the Marxist Left. Hillary, like Obama, is also a Marxist culture warrior. 2016 will be the epic battle of ideologies for the very soul and survival of our Republic. There is no one better to do this than Rick Santorum. The Democrats do not want their worldview countered and debated in the national spotlight of a presidential campaign. They can't afford to allow logic, reasoning, and faith to come into the public debate square. I've seen time and time again during the 2012 GOP campaign even liberals who went to Santorum's rallies and speeches merely to jeer at him, come out of the event saying they had some rethinking to do and even respected the senator for what he said. That is major, and it happened often. Jobs and the economy will again not be the issues of the next presidential campaign because the Dems and MSM own and direct the narrative. We have to be fully prepared for battle on their turf on their terms. We don't have the luxury of setting the rules for the battle. Rick Santorum is battle-hardy and authentic. 2016 must be the battle between Hillary "It Takes A Village" Clinton vs Rick "It Takes A Family" Santorum. Game ON!
NOVAindie
8:14PM APR 3RD 2013
Mr. Santorum, along with Michelle, the other Rick, Newt, and the pizza guy ... they're why Mitt had to position himself so far right of center. That position, plus the 47% goof, tanked his chances of gathering support from the middle of the road folks. You can believe that a far right socially conservative Republican will rally the troops to battle in 2016, but the troops are dying off. The cause is just as lost as the Confederacy was.

Wait a minute ... is that your tongue in your cheek patriotmom61? Ha! I get it. Good one!
phuston
3:08PM APR 3RD 2013
I lived in PA during the years Mr. santorum was in Congress. He is a hypocritical lying bigot. God help America if he manages to get elected again!

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