Evangelical Leaders Agree to Back Santorum

Yesterday around 150 evangelical leaders met at a Texas ranch to discuss a last ditch effort to deny Mitt Romney the Republican presidential nomination. In the end, a large majority agreed to support Rick Santorum, although they stopped short of asking other candidates to drop out. In anticipation of the meeting, Peter Wallsten and Karen Tumulty wrote in the Washington Post:

A near-panic has taken hold among some core conservative activists, who are now scrambling to devise a strategy to deny Mitt Romney the Republican presidential nomination….

Many of these activists see South Carolina’s primary on Jan. 21 as their last best hope of stopping Romney by consolidating in a united front against him. But many acknowledge that they have yet to figure out which of the remaining conservative rivals to rally behind and which should get out.

The Romney conundrum will be on the agenda Friday when about 150 evangelical leaders huddle at a Texas ranch to debate their next move. Likewise, the subject of consolidating conservative opposition to the former Massachusetts governor is expected to be a major point of discussion among about 500 attendees at a tea party convention set for this weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where the list of speakers includes two Romney rivals seeking the conservative mantle, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

According to the Christian Broadcasting Network:

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council says conservatives are looking for a candidate who will repeal the nation’s health care law, fight for pro family values and address the national debt….

Expect conservative groups to start individually motivating their constituents to work for Santorum. Also look for more money and resources to start pouring into Santorum’s campaign. No question about it, this is excellent news for Santorum’s camp and a major blow to the Gingrich and Perry camps.

The LA Times has more from Perkins, who must be the ringleader of this uprising.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said the decision was reached after three rounds of balloting, with Santorum winning 85 votes in the final round, to Newt Gingrich’s 29. Texas Gov. Rick Perry had strong support at the beginning of the process, but was eliminated after the first round of balloting, Perkins said.

“The focus here was on people putting aside their preferences, putting aside the candidate they had signed up with, trying to reach a consensus,” Perkins said.

“Rick Santorum has consistently articulated the issues that are of concern to conservatives, both the economic and the social, and has woven those into a very solid platform,” Perkins said. “And he has a record of stability…He’s reliable.”

As I see it, they’ve chosen the candidate least likely to appeal to general election voters. I can’t imagine Santorum winning the nomination. I guess the real question is how many of these evangelicals will come around to voting for Romney in the end and how many of them will sit stay home on election day.

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35 Comments on “Evangelical Leaders Agree to Back Santorum”

  1. You nailed it with that last para, BB.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It could end up with the evangelicals reelecting Obama.

      • Sounds fitting to me. Obama’s always gone after (i.e. pandered to) a certain segment of the fundie vote.

      • freespirit says:

        Yep. The Evangelicals and other right wing Pubs did their part to put O into office the first time, when they stayed away from the polls in droves, rather than vote for McCain. Such a stupid rationale – allow Obama (who at the time was thought to be super liberal) to be elected because McCain was just too damn moderate to deserve their votes.

  2. peggysue22 says:

    If Santorum were ever on the ballot for POTUS [and I don’t think he would be] that would force me to break my vow, go to the polls and vote against him. But I agree with you BB–this is setting up to be something like 2008. The Far Right Religious crowd stayed home and refused to vote for McCain. And he lost, badly.

    The other Wild Card is what happens with Paul voters [will Ron Paul go 3rd party]? And Americans Elect, which is running under the radar but getting on the state ballots. From which party will they siphon off votes?

    Could get interesting.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    I don’t see where the Evangelicals stayed home in 2008 out of protest over McCain. Don’t forget he had Palin on the ticket, chosen to attract that very same voting block.

    I can think of 159 reasons to not vote for Romney but religion isn’t one of them. Unless he produces a second or third family that he has salted away in secret.

    BTW: Pats are leading so far.

  4. Huckabee forum on Fox Nuts right now… NEwtered speaking

    Newtered wants to replace EPA with Environmental solutions agency.

    /eyeroll

  5. ralphb says:

    Romney Gives Unemployed Woman Cash on Ropeline

    SUMTER, S.C. — Amid shaking hands and signing campaign posters, Mitt Romney did something he has never done before on the ropeline: He took out his wallet and handed a wad of cash to a woman waiting to shake his hand.

    The woman, 55-year-old Ruth Williams, says she has been following the Romney campaign since he arrived in the state on Jan. 11, when she said she received a message from God to track him down.

    “I was on the highway praying and said, ‘God just show me how to get [my] lights on,’ and I pulled up to a stop sign and his bus was there,” said Williams, who has been unemployed since last October. “And then God said, ‘Follow the bus,’ and I followed the bus to the airport.”

    Oh this is good. I didn’t know he cared about the mentally ill.

  6. ralphb says:

    Totally OT but it’s hard to watch the Eurozone go under due to “faith based” austerity.

    From the S&P FAQs On Europe

    We also believe that the agreement [the latest euro rescue plan] is predicated on only a partial recognition of the source of the crisis: that the current financial turmoil stems primarily from fiscal profligacy at the periphery of the eurozone. In our view, however, the financial problems facing the eurozone are as much a consequence of rising external imbalances and divergences in competitiveness between the EMU’s core and the so-called “periphery”. As such, we believe that a reform process based on a pillar of fiscal austerity alone risks becoming self-defeating, as domestic demand falls in line with consumers’ rising concerns about job security and disposable incomes, eroding national tax revenues.

    Can I get a no shit for that revelation? Seems people seem to be drawing the wrong conclusions from the S&P downgrades, in particular Merkel. She seem bound and determined to screw up even worse.

    German chancellor Angela Merkel has called on eurozone governments speedily to implement tough new fiscal rules after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit ratings of France and Austria and seven other second-tier sovereigns.

  7. why is rick perry still talking?

  8. bostonboomer says:

    The Patriots are crushing the Broncos. Brady just set a record for the most touchdown passes in in first half–five! The game is essentially over.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Holy Toledo! Brady just threw the sixth TD pass in this game! That ties a record held by only two other QBs. One more and he’ll have the all-time record for playoff games.