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Santorum Surges From Behind In North Texas

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
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137502483 Santorum Surges From Behind In North Texas

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum shakes hands with supporters after speaking at his primary-night event on January 21, 2012 in Mark Clark Hall at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The latest Republican primary poll in Texas shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Rick Santorum is surging in the Lone Star State just as he has in a variety of other states and nationally.

In a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday morning, Santorum has 45 percent support.

That’s more than double Newt Gingrich who’s in second with 18 percent, and Mitt Romney at 16 percent.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul is fourth with 14 percent.

Just two weeks ago, Romney was polling first in Texas.

Santorum will be back in North Texas this Thursday.  It’s his second campaign swing here this month.  He’ll be holding a fundraiser in Westlake Thursday evening.

During a one-on-one interview earlier this month, Santorum said he had hoped the Texas primary would come sooner rather than later.

Winning in Texas would not only give Santorum most of the state’s 155 delegates, it would also boost his momentum and fundraising.

But the Texas primary isn’t coming sooner.  At the very earliest, the primary will be held May 29th, and many people believe the vote will be held in June.

A lot of states will come before Texas.  The next big contest is Michigan on February 28th.  Santorum overtook Romney and continues to lead there – even though Romney’s father was once Governor there and was presumed to be the favorite.  In a poll by  Public Policy Polling, Santorum leads 37 to 33 over Romney.  Paul has 15 and Gingrich has 10 percent.

Romney continues to lead in Arizona 39 to 31 over Santorum.

But this may very well change again – and show Santorum is leading there as well.  This is certainly a much tighter race than it was earlier this month, when Santorum was in third behind Gingrich.

Super Tuesday is March 6th, and the big state up for grabs is Ohio.  The latest poll there shows Santorum with an 18 point lead over Romney, 42 to 24.  Gingrich has 13 percent and Paul 10.

Our friends just to the north in Oklahoma also vote on Super Tuesday.

Santorum leads a new Sooner Poll out Monday.

Santorum has 39, Romney 23, and Gingrich 18.  Paul has 8.

Given all these polls, it certainly raises the question – what happened to Romney’s campaign?

After being considered the most electable, and inevitable Republican, all bets are off.  He may have the organization and the money, but he never had the full support of conservatives.

That’s been the major disconnect during this campaign.  But after Santorum won Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado, many conservatives decided Romney may not be the most electable, and that they could vote with their hearts.

Romney has repeatedly tried to convince conservatives he’s one of them.  Conservatives never questioned Santorum’s credentials.

Santorum hasn’t changed anything during his campaign.  The only difference is the media is paying attention to him.  That’s something that didn’t happen until a week before the Iowa caucuses.

The real question may be why did it take so long for conservatives to “find” Santorum?

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