The Republican Party’s “Dark Horse” Rides Again

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If you listen to the political pundits, Romney almost has the GOP primary sewn up for this year’s presidential elections. Romney’s now focusing on Obama. Obama’s focusing on Romney. And they’d tell you Obama will win again. But Santorum seems to have the momentum, despite being massively outspent by Romney.

What the media doesn’t say, is “dark horse” Rick Santorum is still in the GOP race with Romney, and may provide a truly exciting finish. Recent delegate totals for the four Republican candidates are (1144 for nomination): Romney-654, Santorum-270, Gingrich-137, and Paul-71.


Several items point to this ‘dark horse’ winning everything:

1) When Santorum lost the Iowa caucuses by only 8 votes to Romney, Bachman immediately pulled out of the race. Considering her political stance, her absence would likely have given her votes to Santorum, easily putting him over the top. And Secretary of State voter registration numbers recently show, for the first time in years, the Republicans in Iowa outnumber the Democrats.

2) The media is convinced Romney will be Obama’s opponent, and that Santorum’s alleged ‘religiosity’ is his downfall. They seem scared of Santorum’s ethical outlook, simply because their outlook is not ethical.

3) The Massachusetts’ health care program Romney instituted as governor was shown to be ineffective as well, and has been labeled ‘Obamacare-Lite’.

4) Most polls have recent shifts of many Democrats going Independent because of Obama’s socialist tendencies, and more Independents going Republican because of the same.

5) Romney has big pockets, and has outspent every Republican candidate by far. But Santorum has been the only candidate to repeatedly call for a Balanced Budget Constitutional amendment. His aggressiveness towards more drilling for oil and gas on continental US territories, and deep cuts in spending and regulations, have been mirrored by his party nominees.                                      

6) The “grand mal” of Romney’s ill-fated Michigan campaign lies in Santorum’s near-tie in Michigan’s recent electoral vote. Romney knows his 1% lead was achieved mostly by votes cast by absentees, weeks before the actual primary. But polls after the election show Santorum actually won by 380,000 votes to Romney’s 300,000 [“Vortex with Michael Voris”]. You won’t hear this from Romney.

Only two weeks before the primary Santorum caught ‘fire’, and began to surge when moral issues were raised. Interestingly, his near-tie with Romney delegates really shouldn’t have happened, and Santorum should have taken Michigan. 

7) Santorum doesn’t actually rule the “Catholic” vote. He seems to be the overwhelming favorite of “evangelical” Protestants. Of the three prongs of Catholics—the Mass-goers, the ‘cultural’, and the ‘walk-away-from-the-church’ Catholics—Santorum got his most support from the first group.

Overall conservative support is 42%, compared with Romney’s ever-constant 24%. For frequent church attendees, support for Santorum is 44%. Romney is at 22%. In the South and Midwest, Santorum leads by 8 and 19 points respectively. The more liberal East and West coasts has the two tied.       


Bottom line, many Republicans that have voted for Romney in the primaries, believe only he can save the day and snatch the presidency from Obama. Many conservatives are convinced Santorum wields a good game, but is too ‘religious’ to be elected president.

Santorum is truly Catholic in his personal life, but has made it perfectly clear that he will never force any American to accept any law that imposes a specific religious moral ethic. 

The strange thing is, the public can be very fickle.

Santorum stressed to a crowd before a primary: “Trust is a big issue in this election. Who are you going to trust when the pressure is on, when we’re in that debate? It’s great to be glib, but it’s better to be principled.”

Santorum is clearer on this message than any other candidate. He has withstood hundreds of attacks because of his opinions, but it’s likely this message will resonate with conservative voters. They seem to highly respect Santorum for his unapproachable strength on faith and values.

Perhaps ABCs Jake Tapper laid out Santorum’s ideological stance best when he said: “His is an unapologetic, in-your-face conservatism.”

Bottom line—are you willing to accept moderate conservatism in this election, or you want to go full bore with your beliefs?

It sounds like another Reagan to me…


Kevin Roeten can be reached at [email protected].