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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/30/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There are signs he's having success following 2008 strategy of Mike Huckabee

Several prominent Iowa preachers have declared that their followers were coalescing behind Rick Santorum. It was just the latest signs that Santorum is a solid contender in the race for the Republican nomination for president. The former Pennsylvania senator had previously built his underdog campaign by trying to appeal to evangelical Christians in the Iowa caucuses.

Several Christian leaders who support Santorum say they believe they have persuaded many evangelicals to unite behind Santorum.

Several Christian leaders who support Santorum say they believe they have persuaded many evangelicals to unite behind Santorum.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/30/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Rick Santorum, Iowa primaries, evangelicals, Mike Huckabee


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In another sign that Santorum's campaign is gaining momentum, some preachers have called upon one of his chief rivals, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann to throw in the towel, or at fold her campaign into Santorum's.

It seems to me that it's time for her to close down shop," Cary Gordon, a Sioux City pastor says. Gordon says the move would allow conservative Christians to speak with one voice, preventing an Iowa victory by Mitt Romney or Ron Paul.

Many evangelicals see Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, as too moderate. Paul, a Texas congressman backed by libertarians, is seen by them as unelectable. The winner of the Republican nomination faces Democratic President Barack Obama in November.

"The reality is, we are divided and being conquered, so to speak, if we don't coalesce around one candidate," Gordon said.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, the third candidate in the GOP field who has made a special point of attracting evangelicals has since launched a negative radio ad against Santorum. Perry's most recent ad accuses Santorum of backing costly spending projects while in the Senate.

A CNN/ORC poll indicated that Santorum was running a best-ever third in the Republican race in Iowa, behind Romney and Paul and ahead of one-time leader Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.

The evangelicals' flocking to Santorum this week are signs that he is having at least some success in trying to follow the 2008 strategy of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses before fading out of the race.

"I've always said that the people of Iowa are going to give me the spark and that's what I believe is happening right now," Santorum told Fox News.

Several Christian leaders who support Santorum say they believe they have persuaded many evangelicals to unite behind Santorum.

"Without question, the coalescing is beginning," Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Iowa evangelical leader who has endorsed Santorum says. "I think Santorum is going to be the benefactor."

Santorum's rise has placed rivals Bachmann, Perry and to some extent Gingrich in jeopardy in the race for third place in Iowa. A third-place finish would provide sufficient momentum to carry a candidate on to the next contest in New Hampshire on January 10 and then on January 21 in South Carolina.

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