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April 10, 2012

Despite Pulling Much Evangelical Support, Santorum Jumps Out of Presidential Race

Evangelical leaders and voters rallied behind the candidate, but the former Pennsylvania senator dropped out today.

Rick Santorum announced today that he will no longer seek the Republican nomination for the presidency. The former Pennsylvania senator told campaign supporters in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that it was time to end his bid for the White House, a departure that all but finalizes Romney as the Republican presidential nominee.


“We made a decision over the weekend that, while this presidential race for us is over — for me — and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was one of the evangelical leaders who met in January to support Santorum (Land, however, does not endorse candidates). On Sunday, Land said on CBS's “Face the Nation” that Santorum should consider stepping aside.

“As his friend,” Land said, “I would say to him you know, you ought to seriously consider leaving the race now. In eight years he’ll be three years younger than Romney is now.”

Santorum was expected to stay on at least through the Pennsylvania primary, but recent events changed this decision. Politically, Santorum faced a greater threat in his home state than anticipated. A loss in the Keystone State would not only seal his fate as a candidate, it would impinge on his future prospects in politics.

Personally, Santorum faced the challenge of having a child with a serious medical condition. Santorum's daughter, Bella, was hospitalized due to pneumonia, which was potentially life-threatening because Bella suffers from Trisomy 18 (a rare genetic disorder). Bella was released from the hospital Monday evening, and Rick Santorum cancelled campaign events to be with his family.

Four months ago, the Santorum campaign flew so under the radar that Mitt Romney's campaign team did not even bother to conduct opposition research against him.

“This race was as improbable as any race you’ll ever see for president,” Santorum told supporters today.

After Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich each successively rose and fell in the polls, Santorum hit his stride just before the Iowa caucuses, where Santorum's emphasis on pro-life issues resonated with social conservatives.

When Gingrich's campaign surged again in the South Carolina primary, evangelical leaders in the social conservative movement feared that the conservative base of the GOP would splinter. Before the primary, about 150 leaders met to coalesce around Santorum, but Gingrich won.

Santorum's campaign picked up steam when they won in non-binding contests in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado. In Michigan, Santorum nearly landed a lethal blow on frontrunner Mitt Romney, whose father was once governor of Michigan. Santorum kept the pressure on Romney in Ohio (Romney won) and Tennessee (Santorum won).

To win the nomination, however, Santorum needed to begin winning more delegates. His biggest opportunity was in Wisconsin, but Romney's victory there raised serious doubts about Santorum's long-term viability.


In 2008, conservatives were shortchanged because there was no candidate which spoke for them in the Republican primary. In 2012, many conservatives shortchanged the one candidate who did speak for them, Santorum. Conservatives were told that only Romney could beat Obama in the general election. Yet considering Obama's extremely low approval ratings, Santorum could have mounted a credible challenge. It would have been Santorum's to lose. Now conservatives have saddled themselves with a candidate they cannot trust to campaign or govern conservatively.They have no one but themselves to blame for the consequences.

Thank you to the Santorum family for being open about Bella's condition and shining a light on a long neglected illness that impacts one in 2500 pregnancies in the US alone. The community of Trisomy 18 families is diverse, as diverse as the American public, and sometimes as divided in their politics. At the Trisomy 18 Foundation we focus on the condition and changing how Trisomy 18 is understood through our investments in research and clinical practive improvements in treatments. Right now there is much that is not understood about how Trisomy 18 disrupts the development of a child from conception on in specific ways. And without that, understanding why so many children die in the first weeks and months of live and why some others are blessed with the gift of more days and years, like Bella, is a mystery. We hope to change that for future families facing this crisis of learning something is terribly wrong with their baby during pregnancy or soon after birth. Trisomy 18 is the killer of many families' dreams for their child. But let's not leave it that way. If you'd like to learn more about the Trisomy 18 Foundation and how you can help us change this for future families, visit us at TRISOMY18.ORG

Santorum has name-recognition among conservatives for some of the positions he's advocated. And some evangelicals preferred this Catholic, presumably because he's pro-life. But frankly he lacks the record to attract lots of conservatives and evangelicals. Sure, some of you would like everyone to find him attractive, but we don't. Having strong opinions is not the same as having leadership substance. It was way past time for Santorum to get out of the race. I doubt if any one else would have jumped in had he left earlier, but the chances are even lower now. Which is OK -- Romney is a good, if not great, choice for conservative evangelicals.

Was getting nowhere anyways. He's just the Male version of SP.


Santorum was just like Sarah Palin, except Palin has executive experience (in and outside of government), solved problems, and is an evangelical. Other than that, they're almost identical!

Will we now see Christian pastors and leaders around the country telling people to choose the candidate who is a priest/bishop/pastor of a non Christian church and who will not discuss what he believes or practices over the other candidate who clearly and unequivocally proclaims Jesus as his savior? Is this the victory of "conservatism"?

Will Christian Pastors tell people to choose the Mormon over Obama? Probably not -- pastors who advocate for a candidate are breaking the law, so only those who have no fear of legal consequences would advocate for a candidate. Those who have nothing to fear would be Obama advocates, at least based upon what we've seen from the current DOJ.

On the other hand, Ravi Zacharias has advised that Christians support the candidate who would conduct (secular) government in a manner that would be most conducive to the free exercise of Christianity. Again, given what actions we've seen out of the current administration, that candidate would not be Obama.

Well if the argument is made about experience; then BO is ahead. Simply because is the only candidate in this election with OTJ experience as POTUS.

So IMVVHO, yes, "Experience" whatever that is! Does count and weights heavily in this "Election".

Mr. Santorum made a bad choice in following after the example and ways of SP. Or maybe, is just that those are his ways too. In any case, "evangelicals" need to realise, that we are NOT the majority of the Populace in this Nation, though we are still the "religious majority". Whatever that means!


Much has been made in the past about the supposed or assumed "christianity" of this or that candidate. For me that is all hogwash, because I'm not voting to select a Minister/Pastor, Deacon or Presbiter for a church.

The Nation, the Country and the Church much to the contrary of the belief of many, ARE NOT one and the same. The difference is like from Heaven to hell.

Therefore when I vote, if I vote at all. I'll have to decide based on who does appear to be the best swimming Shark in tank.

I wish the media would spend more time focusing on the issues, the real issues not the trumped up ones, and not so much time on who is in the lead.

I don't get to vote until May and I am disappointed that my vote for Santorum will mean nothing as he is already out of the race.

Salerno21, did you forget that your original comment compared Santorum to SP -- presumably, Sarah Palin? My response addressed the differences between them.

Your second comment seems to say that any experience as president trumps any other experience (and capability). That would be difficult for anyone except a royalist to accept.

Santorum brought social issues back into the limelight when many Republican establishment types hoped they would fade into the background. He forced Romney to run as a "severe conservative." And considering the odds he was running against, he did extremely well, positioning himself for a future run. If that is becoming like Sarah Palin, more power to them both.

Buckeye: Are you telling me that we should rely upon the promises that a non-Christian with a long history of being "double-minded" will protect our First Amendment rights better than a Christian? No, thank you.

Really! If I buy all that, you can also sell me the Brooklyn bridge.

I'll buy it if you take the Eiffel Tower in exchange as payment.


One thing in this train of comments bothers me a bit. I am surprised to see readers of CT suggesting, without coming right our and saying it, that the spiritual positions of the candidates are the least significant when it comes to making voting choices. If the Word is true, and the Psalm 33:12 has any meaning, would it not stand to reason that the nation is more likely to follow Biblical principles if its leaders are committed to those principles? I am not advocating a theocracy, but I would dearly love to see what our nation would look like if all three branches of government were theologically informed and motivated. As a pastor, I sometimes saw non-Christians who had better marriages than the Christians I was counseling; in every case, it was because they were following Biblical principles that the Christians were not. I believe government operates under the same rules.

That's a rather awkward headline. Did you really go thru all that trouble to avoiding writing 'Santorum pulls out'?

Rick was a "tell it like it is" kind of candidate. It's a positive trait but for politics, it can be a campaign-killer.

You wonder if his follower will support Romney or sit out the election. It could make a big difference.

Ecumenism between Evangelicals and Romanists is Not working well either for the Conservatives. So then; What is left?