CP Politics

Thursday, Nov 27, 2014

Christian Conservatives Suggest Santorum Exit GOP Race, Focus on 2016 and Beyond

  • (Reuters/ Darren Hauck)
    Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at the Ledgeview Center in the Ledgeview Bowling Lanes in Fond du Lac Wisconsin March 25, 2012.
April 5, 2012|5:53 pm

Conservative Christian leaders who have in past months embraced the conservative message of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are now calling for him to consider exiting the GOP race for the White House so that voters can access the qualifications of the Democrat and Republican nominees.

One of those who sees the reality of Santorum's chances slipping away is Dr. Richard Land who heads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

"I have not spoken to Rick about this issue, but as his friend, I would advise him to consider getting out of the race at this point," Land told The Christian Post. "Rick is a still a young man and has a bright future in 2016 and beyond."

"He has run a solid campaign the last six months and resurrected himself once again as a major political figure in our nation," continued Land. "This is the most important election in our nation since 1860 and we need time to vet and access the statements and beliefs of the two men who will be representing our country's two major parties."

Santorum is taking the Easter holiday off to worship and be with his family, but before heading home Thursday he met with a group of conservative advisers to outline a "Hail Mary" strategy for his own political resurrection.

Long-time conservative leaders Richard Viguerie, Rebecca Hagelin and Gary Bauer were some of those in attendance in Tysons Corner, Va., at the meeting. Santorum's campaign confirmed that the group requested the sit-down with the former Pennsylvania senator to reassess his options moving forward.

Santorum finds himself at a crossroads. After losing a trifecta of primaries this week in Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., Republican insiders have been suggesting that he step aside, thereby allowing Mitt Romney to spend his time targeting President Obama.

What advice did the group who met with Santorum give him? Unlike Land, Bauer still holds hope that Santorum can find a way to overtake Romney before the GOP convention in August.

"I would say the consensus in the room is, we continue to believe that Sen. Santorum has the best message that is most likely in November to be a winning message," Bauer told Politico. "And so because of that, we want to make sure that we're doing all the things that need to be done so that he will be successful."

Still, Bauer indicated the group needed to focus on the reality of the current campaign and how to overcome Romney's growing delegate count and endorsements.

 Land, who communicates with most of the GOP candidates on a regular basis, was not in attendance at Thursday's gathering.

"We have a president who this week demonstrated his disrespect for our nation's highest court," added Land. "This is one of the areas where American voters are going to have to take a hard look at who they want to lead our nation for the next four years."

Another well-known conservative Christian leader who declined to speak on the record agreed with Land's assessment of the GOP race.

"We've got to stop beating up each other and turn our focus to President Obama's failed economic policies," the source told CP. "I said all along that the social issues of our nation are directly tied to our nation's ability to regain its financial strength. President Obama continues to make verbal and policy gaffes each day and we need to turn our complete focus on the failed policies of his last four years."

"I agree, Rick has fought a great fight but let's now get behind Gov. Romney and win this thing in November," they added.

The Christian Post attempted to contact the Santorum campaign for comment but was unable to reach them prior to publication.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-conservatives-suggest-santorum-exit-gop-race-focus-on-2016-and-beyond-72766/