Social Conservatives Ditch Perry, Support Santorum

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) – Rick Santorum’s quest to emerge as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney received a boost Saturday from a group of evangelicals and others who voted to back his candidacy in a last-ditch effort to stop the front-runner’s march to the nomination.

About 150 social conservatives meeting in Texas sided with Santorum over a home-state favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The gathering reflected their dissatisfaction with Romney over abortion rights and other issues and their belief that they needed to unite behind one contender if they had any hope of derailing the former Massachusetts governor after his victories in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Their decision comes a week before the next contest, Jan. 21 in South Carolina, where social conservatives are an influential voting bloc. But it was not immediately clear what effect the backing will have.

One participant at the meeting, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, said Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, ended up with 75 percent of the vote.

South Carolina’s Republican voters are some of the nation’s most conservative. In exit polling from the 2008 Republican presidential contest there, 60 percent of primary voters said they were born-again Christians. Romney, whose Mormon faith is not considered a Christian denomination by some, carried just 11 percent of their votes in 2008, fewer than his 15 percent tally overall. Mormons consider themselves Christians.

Conservatives looking to back someone else have a heavy workload in a compressed period of time.

Although Santorum is Romney’s closest rival, he’s 18 points behind in South Carolina, followed by Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, according to the CNN/Time/ORC International poll. Six percent are undecided, the survey found.

Santorum has risen here since his breakthrough near-tie with Romney in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. He has a robust state organization and is making aggressive inroads with evangelical conservatives, like many of those who were at the Country Ham House in Greenville on Saturday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Fashion Police says:

    We can not elect a person who thinks wearing a sweter vest is a good look.

  2. Jack says:

    I just figured out who I now support…and it’s NOT Santorum.

  3. kpk703 says:

    It isn’t Perry’s politics that are killing him, but rather his mannerisms. Those who had no exposure to Perry in the past only know him as someone who hasn’t come across well in the debates.

    Ken
    http://conservativelyspeaking.us

  4. its me says:

    It’s funny how “social conservatives” hunger with wanton lust for the government to stick it’s nose in everyone’s business…??? Isn’t “small government” the conservative mantra? Apparently not, at least when it comes to things that won’t effect them personally. Pigs.

  5. NiteNurse says:

    Quite honestly social conservatives which is code for born again christians are too freaked out about a mormon getting the nomination. They also aren’t too thrilled about a catholic getting the nomination. So what they have to pick from isn’t too thrilling. Which is good news for Obama!🙂

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