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. Rick McDaniel

    Too bad. If he does win the nomination, I have to go 3rd party.

    January 14, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. JC

    Obama is a Christian ...maybe not to Tony Perkins or to the republican party and Fox News...I forget sometimes that they think he is not one of us...foreign in someway ...maybe the color is off a little. It's shameful that how Christian consers. seem to be more about hate. I'm feel safe to say if GOD is watching this some people will not be going to HEAVEN.

    January 14, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. sleuth51

    What a bunch of good-for-nothings.

    You wouldn't expect Christian leaders to endorse an anti-war candidate like Ron Paul, would you?

    No, they go for the war-mongering bloodthirsty pro-life hypocrite. Santorum said the killing of the Iranian scientist was "wonderful." "These phonies believe that "life starts at conception, but ends at our borders."

    Blessed are the warmongers. Repay evil with evil. Curse those who curse you. Hate your enemies. The church is an organized criminal activity.

    When Santorum is totally wasted and his luck has run out, he can start an online business, selling rosaries to Baptists.

    I have nothing but contempt for these whited sepulchers.

    January 14, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. chuck milverton

    Christian Conservatives have been fooled again – all Santorum and George Bush had to say was "I am pro – life " and they fall in line like some school girl who has never been kissed . Look at Santorum's voting record he is a creature of t...he monopoly capitalist big bank Wall Street lobbyists who have handed us a financial and monetary disaster which threatens our constitution and way of life . Christian Conservatives need to figure out it is the constitution that guarantees our religious freedoms and it is the Bush Republicans that have betrayed the trust given them- instead we have an economic collapse created by the likes of Bush and Santorum which has given us Barach Obama. Abortion is a horror without doubt but it must not be the ticket for a dismal fraud like Santorum.See More
    17 minutes ago · Like

    January 14, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. sleuth51

    "Stoneoak

    It is time to start taxing churches as they have clearly decided their is no wall between church and state."

    Yes, tax them and use the money to pay for these wars they are so keen to fight. The more wars, the more tax. Besides, organized criminal activities should be taxed. Apply RICO!

    January 14, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. Video Guy

    What was the name of that "Ranch". Could it be Gov Perry's play ground?

    January 14, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. LB

    Santorum would try to institute Evangelical Christian Sharia law ... fortunately, he will fail

    January 14, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. clarinet

    Santorum has the mental wattage of a human dill doe for men. Get out of the race Rick.

    January 14, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. pn

    Amazing. I guess the next step is that they find holes in the copernican model....

    January 14, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  10. Kenjiro M

    Althouh these Christian conservatives can support who they want, they can't shove their views down the collective throat of the USA.
    I myself am a young, traditionalist Catholic. I support some of the views of these people, and of Rick Santorum (pro-life issues, etc.). But religion is not the be all and end of all of my existance. I do not make my decisions and judgements of politics and the very grave issues afflicting our country (the economy, jobs, foreign policy) on who shares my Catholic/Christian values or not.
    The issues concerining our country are very serious, and they are not (contrary to the hateful propaganda of these Christians) the fault of the Obama administration. They are the fault of the previous administration and President who I will not name or label.
    I think there are three basic elements that run thr u the minds of these "Christians", a superiority complex that they represent the best (false) and the majority (false ) of Americans and their beliefs. Second, they believe that the USA is a chosen or sacred contrry destined to dominate the world.(False). Who else thought like that who triggered WW II.....Adolph Hitler, and the militarist govertment of Japanese generals (Tojo, etc.) (the Showa Emperor, Hirohito was a puppet who did as he was told or he would have been assasinated). Thirdly, and most dangerously is that they believe that anyone who is not one of them, or believes as they do is the enemy. This givens rise to fanaticism, racism, hatred, bigotry, and ultimately if it goes on to far, class or religious warfare.
    Religion and religious belief is a freedom given in the USA Cnstitutiuon, but the Constitution also mandates separation of Church and State. Religion should have no place in goverment, public office, inclusing the Presidency.
    It never did until thirty years ago, and should not today.

    January 14, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. Will

    I enjoy their willingness to show us how unimportant they really are.

    January 14, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. Stevie

    Christian evangelicals make me sooooo glad God gave the world Siddatha Gotama (the Buddha) and the Middle Way Teachings!

    January 14, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. tjlnsd

    I don't consider these people "Christian' as much as I do plain old bigots wrapping themselves in religion to validate their bigotry.

    January 14, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. ghostclown

    Mainstream media picks GOP candidate.

    January 14, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Steve

    Santorum is the Huckabee of 2012 -another fruitcake loser!

    January 14, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Brad76

    I despise Christians who lust for war and trample on the poor. Go read the bible again you dim witted fools.

    January 14, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Pat

    christian is now the euphemism for STUPID>

    January 14, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. wizzie

    Don't discount the evanaglecal conservative vote, although these are the last people on the planet I want voting or backing any candidate since I'm atheist. They always pick someone who is a bigot and is dumb as ****, claiming to be so moral but they can win (look at William Donahue's guillable flock). Most likely Romney will get the nomination which I think is awful. I'd rather it would be a race between Dr. Paul and President Obama, since I consider Dr. Paul the only republican that's only half a joke. He's right about the war in Afganistan, the war on drugs and that America is going to self destruct if we keep on going with this imperialism (read about the Roman empire in a history book). I just can not stand the fact Dr. Paul is a libertarian that thinks abortion should be outlawed and wants to continue tax breaks for the most wealthy in this country and still allow the common man to pay up.

    January 14, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. DaveinSC

    Well, the fundamentalists support the biggest war monger of the field. Figures.

    January 14, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. LCSWquilter

    Wonderful! Just as it seemed the GOP was getting ready to coalesce around Romney, this decision will ensure more GOP splitting in the future. Thank you for handing a reelection victory to President Obama! Incidentally, I guess the evangelicals don't use the Bible that includes, "Render to Cesaer the things that are Ceasaer's and to God the things that are God's."

    January 14, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. someGuy

    Doesn't matter which candidate they pick there is something they don't want to face. After mccain/palin and bush/cheney they prob want to avoid dumb woman, angy/confused old man as well as dumb texan. There goes bachmann, perry, newt and paul to an extent, he is finished off by his sometimes far left standpoints and the fact that he doesn't seem to be someone they can buy. So then you have huntsmann romney and santorum. Romney and huntsmann are both mormon, so that would create some cognitive dissonance with most christians. Throw in some 'liberal' policies/standpoints and they're out for sure. So then you're left with santorum, who should be eliminated based on his views. But no, apparently out of all these things hate and intolerance are the most acceptable to the christian conservative leaders.

    January 14, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. someGuy

    It's really a sign of delusion if you think about it, they claim that they picked him because they felt he had the strongest chance to beat obama. They are so isolated in their own communities that they really think the majority of this country can accept this mans obvious hate and intolerance.

    January 14, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Jim K

    America deserves a clear choice this election. Romney V. Obama is no choice at all. Does anyone really believe Mitt Romney is going to repeal the health care plan he conceived of? There must be a clear election that shows whether we are a Christian nation or a bunch of athiests!!!

    January 14, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. Pat in IL

    As a Christian, I am appalled that Christianity is being uned, and often very misrepresented, for personal gain. These clowns need to get real, quit worrying about running everyone's life, and start learning something about foreign policy, economics, etc. The President of the United States is not our pastor in chief.

    January 14, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Chris C

    I took another look at Rick Santorum and I think I may support him. I don't agree with him on social policy, particularly gay marriage, but I think he has the right ideas when it comes to Iran and also about how to apply free market ideas to big government. He's a compassionate person and I like that. Plus well educated.

    January 14, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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