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December 20th, 2011
 

Santorum Reacts to Vander Plaats’ and Hurley’s Endorsements

Rick Santorum was more than pleasantly surprised when he learned about the endorsements from two of Iowa’s most prominent social conservatives, Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley. Although their organization, The Family Leader, opted not to offer an endorsement as a group, the support of these two is just as significant.

“I just feel great,” Santorum told TheIowaRepublican.com. “It’s an affirmation of what we’ve been saying. When people start to take a look at us, they see we’re the best candidate that stands for the values people want to see in the their candidate. They see I can stand up to Mitt Romney and be successful and if I get the nomination I can stand up to Barack Obama and be successful.”

Santorum had just wrapped up a campaign event in Pella and was talking to reporters when he got the news. “At first I heard they weren’t endorsing,” Santorum said. “Then everybody’s saying, ‘It’s going to be Rick Perry, it’s going to be Rick Perry’. And so I was a little disappointed with that. So, I’m doing a press conference and we get the word that they weren’t endorsing anybody. I thought, ‘Well, that’s better than Rick Perry’. Finally, we got the news that it was us. I was just elated. It was kind of the full spectrum there in 10 minutes.”

The backing of Vander Plaats could provide a much-needed momentum boost to Santorum’s campaign. He has hovered near the bottom of the polls nationally and in Iowa throughout the race. Although Vander Plaats lost in the GOP gubernatorial primary last year, he garnered more than 93,000 votes. Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Caucus in 2008 with just under 41,000 votes. If Vander Plaats can convince less than half of his supporters to back Santorum, he could win Iowa.

“For our campaign, this endorsement is more important than it would be for other campaigns,” Santorum said. “I’m the least known candidate. I get the least amount of national attention. The national media written has written us off and said ‘Don’t pay any attention to this guy.’ This is going to get folks to pay attention and take a look at us.”

Santorum spoke with Bob Vander Plaats on the phone shortly after the endorsement announcement. They discussed what role BVP will play in the final two weeks of the Iowa campaign. “He has to make some decisions about how he wants to best help us,” Santorum said. “He’s thinking about that right now and I said ‘I respect whatever you decide to do.’”

For Vander Plaats’ and Hurley’s endorsements to make an impact, they need to move quickly. Santorum will take a break from the campaign trail this weekend to spend Christmas with his family in Pennsylvania. When he returns to Iowa on Monday, there will be only eight days left until the Iowa Caucus.

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Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com


About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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