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July 12th, 2012
 

Santorum Supporters Slow to Warm to Romney

Although Mitt Romney’s campaign is busy trying to win over independents and disaffected Democrats, it is obvious the GOP presidential nominee-to-be still work to do in convincing conservatives to vote for him. Despite encouragement from Rick Santorum to get behind all Republicans in the November election, many who supported Santorum in the Iowa Caucus are not sold on voting Romney in the general election.

“I plead with you, even if you may not be happy with whatever candidate, whether it’s the top of the ticket or the bottom of the ticket, whether it’s for state house or president, we don’t have the luxury of taking a pass. It’s just too important,” Santorum told a crowd of 250 supporters in Windsor Heights on Tuesday.

The 2012 Iowa Caucus winner slammed President Obama several times during his 20-minute “Thank You, Iowa” speech in Windsor Heights and mentioned the importance of ousting Obama this fall. Santorum twice mentioned Mitt Romney by name and stressed the need to elect the former Massachusetts governor. Still, many in the crowd were not convinced.

“I’m doing a whole lot of soul searching,” said Urbandale activist Jim Borwey. “My concern is about the direction our country is headed. We’re heading down a path of complete socialism to the point that it’s going to be difficult to recover from. At this point in time, I don’t plan on voting for anyone, but I may end up voting for Romney because I don’t want another four years of Obama.”

Steve Boender of Oskaloosa is a board member of The Family Leader, the social conservative organization headed by Bob Vander Plaats. He was an early Santorum supporter and even allowed the former Pennsylvania senator to stay at his ranch for more than a week during the summer of 2011. Boender has decided to support Mitt Romney, but the support is tepid.

“Well, as with most folks, I guess I wasn’t too excited about Mitt, but at least if Mitt gets it we will still have a republic as we know it,” Boender said. “I feel President Obama is a dangerous president and I feel that if we look back at the last 3½ years and how far we have come and how many freedoms we have lost, if we continue that cycle for the next four years, I feel 2012 might be our last free election.”

Rick Santorum gave what seemed like a half-hearted endorsement of Mitt Romney back in May, almost a month after dropping out of the presidential race. The announcement was buried in the 13th paragraph of a 16-paragraph email, sent late at night. Still, Santorum made it clear Tuesday night that Romney has his support.

“I’m here to ask you to get energized, to understand the key role you play here in the next 100-plus days, and get out make and difference here in the state of Iowa,” Santorum told the crowd. “Get out and support Tom Latham, Steve King, Ben Lange, and John Archer for Congress. Go out and work for Mitt Romney and whoever his vice-presidential nominee is going to be. They’re working hard. They’re working Iowa hard.”

While some Santorum supporters are slow to hop on the Romney bandwagon, others realize the alternative, four more years of Obama, is too much to bear.

”This is an extremely critical election and we can’t stand by and watch,” said Jim Carley of Altoona, an Iowa House candidate. “We have to go out and work to get Republicans elected. I believe what Santorum had to say is right. If all the Republicans vote Republican, we can win in November. If people sit out, then that’s the same as voting for Mr. Obama.”

Montgomery County GOP Chair Margaret Stoldforf agrees. “It’s incumbent on every Republican, every conservative that we support him,” she said. “We need to focus on the goal, and that is to get Obama out of the White House.”

Rick Santorum was a frequent critic of Romney during the GOP presidential primary. Santorum dismantled Romney and his Massachusetts healthcare law during the Florida presidential debate in late January. However, now that the Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare, Santorum feels the necessity of removing Barack Obama from the White House has grown exponentially.

“A lot is at stake,” Santorum said. “We no longer can count on the court to bail us out on this issue. We are going to have to win this election. We’re going to have to defeat Barack Obama or socialized medicine will go on and you became the generation that gave up America.”

Like many of his Iowa supporters, Rick Santorum had his own reservations about Mitt Romney. However, he says he will work to help Romney defeat Obama and believes conservatives will eventually follow suit.

“I had a good meeting with Governor Romney right after we dropped out of the race and I sort of laid out what I thought he needed to do,” Santorum told TheIowaRepublican.com. “I think he’s doing some of those things. It’s still a long way to go in this campaign. I think people are getting more energized. I felt a lot of energy in the room tonight and I’m confident that with everybody on the team pulling together, that we can be successful in the fall.”

A common refrain during Santorum’s campaign stops in Iowa was that the 2012 election is the most important one of our lifetimes. He reiterated that point Tuesday evening. Santorum says that unless Obama is defeated, America and it’s freedoms will be fundamentally and permanently changed for the worse.

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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