Santorum endorsed by ‘nation’s oldest & largest’ GOP volunteer group
October 29th, 2011
08:58 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum endorsed by ‘nation’s oldest & largest’ GOP volunteer group

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) -– Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has won the official endorsement of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies.

The group also gave Herman Cain its endorsement for vice president.

The decision to support Santorum and Cain came Saturday at the group’s Presidential Preference Convention in Des Moines, Iowa. The NFRA bills itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest Republican volunteer organization.” Its delegates refer to it as “the Republican wing of the Republican Party.”

Earlier Saturday, Texas Rep. Ron Paul won two separate tallies for the group’s presidential straw poll. That contest was dominated more by Paul's loyal supporters than by members of the NFRA.

Of the 94 NFRA delegate votes in the final endorsement tally, Santorum won 69, Cain 25. Attendees to the convention represented 26 of the 37 states where the NFRA operates.

Over six rounds of voting, members praised their picks, lobbied for support and – at times – argued forcefully.

The final decision went down to the wire. Over successive rounds of voting, candidates were dropped from consideration one by one.

Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson fared the worst. In the first round, they easily became the first political casualties, receiving no voices of support. The three men were dropped from consideration.

Next to go: Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota congresswoman received only two delegate votes in the first round – and none in the second.

On a motion to drop her name from consideration, one person urged the crowd, “Michele may be the dark horse. Let’s leave her.” Another yelled out: “Michele has voted consistently in the Congress for conservative causes.”

The scant pleadings were not enough. In the face of such little support, Bachmann’s name was also dropped from consideration.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul were summarily dismissed from endorsement consideration after one more voting round.

That left only Cain, Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry standing in the fourth round – with 37, 38 and 20 votes, respectively. Racked with indecision and facing a possible deadlock, there were signs of an intra-group family feud.

Someone motioned that Perry also be removed from contention – a proposal staunchly opposed by the Texas governor’s supporters.

“The Perry people have no right to think he’s going to get endorsed,” one man said.

“If you came here to endorse Perry, at this point you should be thinking about Herman Cain or Rick Santorum,” yelled another man.

If Perry is dropped from the ballot, threatened former Ohio secretary of state and treasurer Ken Blackwell, “I will move that we not endorse.”

The Perry entreaties were ignored. Delegates dropped Perry from consideration and headed to a fifth round.

Once there, Santorum led Cain, 53 votes to 39.

That vote margin did not meet the two-thirds majority required by NFRA rules.

After another passionate round of pleading, caucusing, then voting, many of the Perry supporters threw their support behind Santorum, helping him to emerge as the winner.

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Aki

    Here's a question: NFRA may be the largest, but are they sure that its members will actually. go out and help Rick S.? He looks like a pretty boy, but this RIck has much less influence and money than Rick P. I'm not sure how this Rick got so lucky

    October 30, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  2. Cyrus

    In another news, the local senior center had a bingo contest and they elected their leaders the same way. Fifteen minutes later, no one cared.

    October 30, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  3. pn

    These guys just don't want to beat Obama it seems.

    October 30, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  4. joe

    Really? Paul wins both polls you hold with 82% of the vote and you still cant pick him?

    October 30, 2011 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    WOW, 52 of 92 GOP goobers voted to support Santorum?

    He is probably all bubbly and frothy, now that he may poll at 2% instead of 1%.

    October 30, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  6. jim wilson

    This was the biggest sham so far Paul won the straw poll by 82% getting over 340 votes, NFRA has lost ALL credibility and will no longer be a force within the GOP, by the time this election is over the GOP may not exist,they no longer represent the will of the people, Im disgusted

    October 30, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  7. Deep in the heart of TX

    CNN, is there a pic of little Ricky that does not make him look like a 40 year old special needs child waving to his mommy at graduation time?

    I do understand if it is indeed congenital.

    October 30, 2011 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  8. Actual Results

    Ron Paul massively won, but the guy who received 1% of the vote was endorsed anyway. Here are the in-state voter results on the initial ballot (not reported on in the article):
    Paul Paul: 82%
    Herman Cain: 14.7%
    Rick Santorum: 1%
    Newt Gingrich: 0.9%
    Michele Bachmann: 0.5%
    Rick Perry: 0.5%
    Gary Johnson: 0.2%
    Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman: 0%

    Ron Paul won on the out-of-state voting too.

    October 30, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  9. Moe NY

    Guess the GOP/Bags had to throw a bone to Santorum. after all, he is out there spewing their BS. As far as I'm concerned, the clown car is full...do not think it could possibly hold another clown, and it is just a matter of time when the clowns start leaving the car...for no other reason than they cannot stand their own toxic venom. Why is it that most of these GOP/Bag candidates stick their noses into individuals lives, and have no answer to the problems America is facing? Just curious!

    October 30, 2011 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  10. Moe NY

    Why the pity party for Santorum all of a sudden? Santorum certainly has nothing to offer the american people, especially women.

    October 30, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  11. Jason P

    So...Santorum got 1% in the group's sponsored straw poll, yet emerged as the "endorsed candidate"? Ron Paul got 82% of the vote?!?!?! Since when is having a passionate base a bad thing? Do you really think that the same people voting in this straw poll were the same that voted when Paul won California? Or are they the same that voted when Paul won at CPAC, or in New Hampshire, or how about Ohio? NO! Paul has strong support everywhere he goes! And yet the media is dis-counting him, and his supporters!

    October 30, 2011 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  12. Ed

    ASSEMBLIES OF CORRUPTION. Endorse who the people want/picked!!!! Down with the ELITES!!!! Ron Paul got 82% while Santorum got 1%. Ron paul 2012!!!! Fight the Establishment!

    October 30, 2011 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  13. Nathan

    This group is 94 50-100 yrs old(seriously 100 yrs) I don't give it too much credibility. I think the Straw Poll is more representative of the American people (which was close to 500 votes cast). I was there watching it was a bunch of old people bickering with each other.

    October 30, 2011 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  14. John Dean

    Santorum. LOLZ. More proof that the GOP is categorically irrelevant without Ron Paul. The NFRA should change their slogan to "The Left Wing of the Republican Party." Fu*king Neocons.

    October 30, 2011 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  15. HAHA

    So, Rick gets 4 TOTAL, yes that's correct, 4 TOTAL votes in the straw people and he gets the endorsement? Really?

    October 30, 2011 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  16. tcaros

    I have a fart in my butt that will endorse Santorum, but that's about all he has.

    October 30, 2011 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  17. tcaros

    Crazy Rick Sanitorium.

    October 30, 2011 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  18. Kevin Owens

    What a joke Ron Paul wins by a landside victory and NFRA dismisses it. I dismiss the NFRA they don't deserve to be called republicans, They're just a buch of spineless cronies of a broken system, that will never get an influx of new blood. When the last of that 94 die so will the NFRA.

    October 30, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  19. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    How much did their wasted votes cost them? Wingnuts involved. Always follow the money

    October 30, 2011 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  20. Meh

    This is a joke, right?

    October 30, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  21. Larry, Darryl and Darryl

    Wow, how exciting it must have been.

    October 30, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  22. Tony

    I thought the Tea Party is the Republican wing of the Republican Party. They are endorsing Santorum? Are they nuts? Oh wait, stupid question.

    October 30, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. Peter

    Looks like yet another sham to screw Ron Paul out of getting recognition for a victory...jeez

    October 30, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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