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Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Politics | 9 comments

150 Social Conservative Activists Settle on Supporting Santorum In Stop Romney Move

Seeing the likely nomination of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 150 conservative activists gathered in Texas have decided to give their support to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in an effort to halt what now seems to be in the political cards: the splitting of social conservatives’ votes among several candidates which would allow Romney to sail his way to victories in South Carolina, Florida and at the convention. The Hill reports:

A group of conservative activists decided Saturday to throw its support behind Rick Santorum in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and a spokesman for the group of 150 activists, said that a “strong consensus” emerged for the former Pennsylvania senator after a three-ballot process.

Perkins said that Santorum got more than two-thirds support from the activists in the final ballot, in which he faced off against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas also received considerable support from the group, Perkins added.

“I think it was vigorous discussion of who they felt best represented the conservative movement and who they think had the best chance of succeeding,” said Perkins, adding that he was surprised that the group was able to coalesce around one candidate.

The activists had gathered in Texas this weekend to discuss the GOP primary race, a week before South Carolina voters go to the polls in their primary.

In the end, Perkins suggested that the desire to defeat President Obama had helped push the group toward a decision.

He reiterated that the meeting was not meant to “bash” Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the nomination who is viewed with skepticism within some conservative circles.

That’s essentially spin: the whole point of this decision is to stop Romney, a moderate Republican in his former incarnation who has produced so many flip flops that he could supply Walmart shoe departments worldwide.

And Perkins also noted that supporters of other candidates, especially Gingrich or Perry, should not necessarily be expected to switch their support in light of the activists’ decision.

But if supporters of other candidates don’t rally behind Santorum it’ll be a repeat of 2008 which opened a door for Arizona Sen. John McCain.


Most likely prospect:
it is too little too late and barring some major development Romney will be the nominee. Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry won’t be suspending their campaigns so the anti-Romney vote will be split between them and Rep. Ron Paul. If you do — or a first grader does — the math, who’s likely to come out the winner given the split votes?

Photo via Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan has an interesting take on this development:

The big surprise for me in this is Ron Paul’s remarkable strength in South Carolina. My gut tells me it’s driven by military types, who share the view of many active duty soldiers that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were idiotic. But the evangelical machers’ embrace of Santorum could now help Romney. If it halts Santorum’s slide, it may also halt Gingrich’s and Paul’s rise, allowing Romney to claim a bigger victory.

I have a feeling – just that – that if Romney doesn’t win this state, the whole thing blows open again.

If I was in Vegas now I’d feel very confident about placing a bet on Romney, particularly in light of how the Bain Capital controversy caused Romney critics such as Rush (Chief Republican Strategist In Chief) Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others to rally to his defense. It seems like the anti-Romneys seem either stuck or sagging. Plus: Romney’s organization and his $$$. I could be wrong — but if I was in Vegas now, I’d place that bet.