Defecting S.C. senator backs Santorum
January 17th, 2012
01:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Defecting S.C. senator backs Santorum

Mt. Pleasant, SC (CNN) - Aboard the USS Yorktown Tuesday morning, South Carolina State Senator Larry Grooms made his political defection official by announcing his endorsement of Rick Santorum.

"Just a couple of day ago I was still saying Rick Perry should be President of the United States," Grooms told a crowd of reporters. "I endorsed him early and I believe he is a good man. I believe he would make a fine president, but let's face it. It's time for the conservatives of South Carolina to rally around our best choice to have a true conservative as President of the United Sates."

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Just hours before Monday's Republican presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, Grooms released a statement withdrawing his endorsement of Rick Perry and urging the Texas governor to drop out of the race. In the statement, Grooms said "it is apparent that Governor Perry cannot win and has no viable strategy in moving forward," and that by staying in the race Perry would be helping frontrunner Mitt Romney by dividing the social conservative vote.

On Tuesday, Grooms said he'd recently spoken with both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, but ultimately chose to support Santorum because of his history of support for traditional families.

"When you look at the viable candidates that remain, we have Rick Santorum, we have Newt Gingrich, we have Ron Paul and we have Mitt Romney, and you have to consider, where are these men on all of the issues, and to me, family is absolutely essential," Grooms said, referencing their military surroundings as a testament to the sacrifice other Americans have made for the family. "To have true economic liberty, to have true economic freedom, there must be some moral restraints. We must respect the family. South Carolina, we care about families."

Grooms, who's a strong supporter of the tea party and the author of South Carolina's controversial new immigration reform legislation, had been a supporter of Perry since the Texas governor traveled to Charleston, SC to announce his candidacy. Santorum thanked Grooms for calling on his supporters to "coalesce behind a strong principled conservative."

Although Grooms introduced Santorum to the crowd of reporters gathered for the press conference, he quietly joined the former senator on stage at the town hall that followed, leaving the introduction duties to retired General Jerry Boykin. Grooms was later introduced by Santorum partway through his remarks when the candidate realized he hadn't yet mentioned his newest supporter.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. ja

    that shows how much the endorsements are worth

    January 17, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Will Perry take the hint and drop out before the next SC debate and the SC primary?

    January 17, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Freedom and Liberty NOW

    Duh on me- I just saw CNN's headline story of the above. I stand corrected, sorry.

    January 17, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    How important are these endorsements? How long are endorsements good for since this guy switched from Perry (just as foolish like George W. Bush) to Santorum (ideologue)?

    January 17, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Phil in KC

    Sounds like nails being driven into the presidential aspirations of Rick Perry.

    January 17, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Perry Go Home , Open a BBQ stand , sell used cars , start a band .

    Just go away !

    January 17, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    The truth is they don't have anyone worthwhile to run so they are just trying to make the best of it. What a party.

    January 17, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. v_mag

    Another SC politician puts his ignorance on display for the world to see. Perry is definitely not a good man and would make an even more horrible president than Bush II, if that is possible. Santorum is very marginally better. There's not a Repugnant candidate that is worth what a bunch of marines did to some dead Taliban.

    January 17, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Gurgi

    Perry already walked through the field of cow pies blindfolded,,,,and must have been barefoot too as he "stepped in it" big time.

    January 17, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. MWM

    What is the sound of the GOP(God's Own Party)? Flip-flop

    January 17, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |