Christian conservative leaders vote to support Santorum
January 14th, 2012
12:50 PM ET
3 years ago

Christian conservative leaders vote to support Santorum

(CNN) - A meeting of Christian conservative leaders resulted in the group backing GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins announced Saturday.

The group heard pitches from surrogates for Republican candidates on Friday, and voted to support Santorum after voting on Saturday.

"After three rounds of balloting this morning, and vigorous and passionate discussion, there emerged a strong consensus around Rick Santorum as the preferred candidate for this group," Perkins said on a conference call Saturday.

The group of conservative leaders was meeting at a Texas ranch to discuss the 2012 race, although ahead of the meeting it appeared unlikely the gathering would come to an agreement on backing a particular candidate.

Well-known evangelicals flocked to the event, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Perkins, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer. Members of the media were barred from attending.

Perkins expressed surprise the group was able to come to a consensus, but said what resulted would be a stronger chance of beating President Barack Obama.

"I will have to admit what I did not think was possible appears to be possible," Perkins said.

Representatives winnowed the field to two candidates: Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The final balloting gave 85 votes to Santorum and 29 to Gingrich.

One of the requirements for attending the meeting was a willingness to support the candidate that emerged as the winner. At least one attendee, American Family Association founder Don Wildmon, has publically endorsed Gingrich.

"There is a hope and expectation that those that are represented here, and their constituencies, that it will have an impact," Perkins said.

The individual organizations represented at the meeting will not coordinate in their efforts to back Santorum, Perkins said.

"It will manifest itself in many different ways," he said.

Perkins said discussion of frontrunner Mitt Romney's Mormon religion did not play a significant role in the weekend's discussion, and that the Romney team sent a surrogate to speak to the conservative leaders.

"This was not a bash-Mitt Romney weekend, it was focused on the positive," Perkins said. "It's not news that there is not strong support among conservatives for Mitt Romney, and that was reflected here."

Perkins dismissed concerns that the meeting happened too late the GOP race to have an impact, with Romney already having won the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. A CNN/ORC International poll released Friday showed Romney's lead growing over the rest of the field.

"The race is far from being decided," Perkins said. "South Carolina [which votes next Saturday] is a state that is more reflective of conservative voters. So this is good time to see movement toward a particular candidate for conservatives."

In a statement Saturday, Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said the announcement was only an indication of who evangelical voters did not want in office.

"Conservative evangelical leaders spoke very clearly today that Mitt Romney will not be the nominee," Hammond said. "It is encouraging for the Republican Party to have two choices in Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. It is also encouraging that public opinion polls show South Carolina conservatives consolidating their support behind Newt Gingrich just a week before the all important First in the South Primary."


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    According to the majority of Liberal posters here, Presidential Candidates must be athiest and believe in nothing. I can't find that in the constitution.

    January 15, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Dennis

    I'n a conservative Christian and I back Romney. Why. Romney understands economic issues like no one else in this election. Romney will draw more independents than any other candidate. I think Romney has a better chance than anyone in winning in November. Romney will turn around Obama's disastrous economic policies.

    January 15, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Ron

    Thank you republicans.... your collection of losers will make sure that Obama gets re-elected

    January 15, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. willie floyd

    As a Dem. and a Christian for many years, I don't care what these so-called Rep. Christians think or believe. Neither do I allow them to "offend" me-but I do strongly object to their offending my CHRIST!!!
    "Blessed be the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of GOD".

    January 15, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. mrgmorgan56

    Idiots backing an idiot. Who new?

    January 15, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Chipster

    Have any of these "Christian Conservatives" actually looked at what Santorum has actually done? Hypocritical, self-serving, greedy (just ask anyone Pennsylvania taxpayer)..... he was adamant about limiting malpractice lawsuits, except for the one he filed that funded the purchase of his huge VA estate! Gouged PA for cyber school to the tune of about $100,000 when his children actually lived in VA – uh, at the estate! But no, all you CCs care about is his pro-choice position. His position is pro-Catholic and wants to dictate personal behavior. Have any of you heard a word from him about the habit his church leaders have of protecting child molesters??? Me neither!

    January 15, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. tc

    iguess santorium is ok. he would be better than newt the newt or ron paul.

    January 15, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. MadInCT

    Ah, Christian Conservative Leaders, aka, Grand Wizards without the pointy hats, have spoken. To quote a Cheney missive: "So?"

    January 15, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. GUTSYCALL@YAHOO.COM

    I'll take Christian GOP over Greedy One Percent GOP Romney – he is the living emodiment of everything that is now going wrong with capitalism. ANYONE BUT ROMNEY

    January 15, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. sensible

    @ Jim K
    Actually, we are not a 'christian nation'. We are a multi-religious nation, like it or not.

    January 15, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. John B

    Santorum has a better chance of beating Obama where I live in Ohio. Santorum's manufacturing plan and tax policy will bring the votes. Ohio will not vote for Romney in November because backed TARP, was the architect of Obma-Care, and is Wall Street. If there is one thing Ohioans hate right now, it is Wall Street.

    January 15, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Shane Ownbey

    I am LDS. My family was converted to the church via two elderly lady missionaries in Florida. You don’t need to be a member long before you start to see the prejudices against your religion but, all religions have them so why be upset. It’s part of the faith building concept. You believe things and you hope to know those things. Some faith grows into knowledge but you will always have unanswered question. All Christians believe in Noah & the flood and that a virgin named Mary had the child, Jesus. Mormons like me, believe it too.

    January 15, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Shane Ownbey

    We were established and have flourished as a Christian nation. In God We Trust.

    January 15, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. John B

    Chipster is over the line!!! Calling all Catholics like myself "protecting child molesters" is wrong and as stupid as saying everyone in football is "protecting child molesters" because of Sandusky and Penn St.

    January 15, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Rev. B.T.

    Don't these people know theocracy is NOT an option in the US?

    January 15, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Jon Swin

    This just shows how out of touch with reality these people are.

    January 15, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Once leader, Mussolini had to decide on whether to take on the power of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy or to work with it. He chose the latter. In this way, Italians did not have to have divided loyalties. Therefore, Mussolini worked to get the Roman Catholic Church to accept a Fascist state while he planned to offer the Roman Catholic Church what it wanted.

    January 15, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. ty

    this endorsement of santorum shows with great clarity how the religious right does not know who Jesus was or what he preached. i hope the right does support santorum ( a man who lost his re election bid by 18 points!) it will maybe get him the nomination or at least more attention and demonstrate how hateful and evil the religous right is. what these folks want is simple. a theocracy..a government based on THEIR religious beliefs only. if you differ from them at all..you are wrong and will be punished with loss of rights and discrimination. they play god while prentending to defend him. shame.

    January 15, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. 21k

    these guys would not pick jesus to be the nominee. thinks on his own too much.

    January 15, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Why are there soo many types of Conservatives (Jefferson, Evangelical, Reagan, Christian, Social and Romney)?...Which one is the best type?

    January 15, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Let's see... Santorum is against Gay marriages, gay adoptions,anything that has to do with gay rights, abortions,equal rights, mixed race marriages, African Americans (unless they're wealthy and conservative), raise the retirement age, lower benefits to the elderly, Mormons, and you have to be a born again christian to be accepted by Christ.

    Sounds like he fits right in there with the Evangelicals.

    January 15, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Shane Ownbey

    it Official MORMONS are Christian -
    Book of Mormon Quote 2 Nephi 25:26

    And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

    January 15, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Doug

    Any Christian Conservative who believes that his/her CC candidate could actually sway independent voters and win the election has been dipping too much into the prayer wine.

    January 15, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. katy heys

    This is a nation of multiple religions, and all should respected for their choice. But we need a separation between Church and State.

    January 15, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Time to flush Boehner, McConnell, Santorum, Cantor, Ryan and all Tea Party GOP morons down the toilet of history.

    Obama-Biden in 2012!

    January 15, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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