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Santorum, Gingrich Battle for Southern Votes for GOP Nomination

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  • Rick Santorum
    (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)
    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum greets supporters at a campaign rally at Dayton Christian School in Miamisburg, Ohio, March 5, 2012.
By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
March 9, 2012|10:01 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's victories on Super Tuesday might have put him further ahead in the lead for the GOP presidential race, but if Rick Santorum can force Newt Gingrich to suspend his campaign in the upcoming Southern state primaries, he believes he has the real chance to clinch the Republican nomination.

"If we can finish first and second in Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday," Santorum said, according to CBS News, "that will be a big win for us, and hopefully get this race down to two candidates."

"We had a good night last night, but so did Gov. Romney. That's why we have to start anew here. We have to do well here in Kansas. ... No, we have to win here in Kansas. And win big," he added about Saturday's upcoming vote in Kansas.

Santorum and Gingrich are seen as the two real conservative candidates left opposing Romney – but they have largely split the conservative vote between them, which has allowed the former Massachusetts governor to rise to the top of the pack. Now that a wave of Southern, conservative states, including Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are getting ready to hold their primaries, it may be time to find out who the people favor as the true conservative candidate in the race.

Gingrich has refused to back down so far, even though his only victory came at Super Tuesday at his home state of Georgia. Santorum, on the other hand, has won and came in close, second to Romney, in a number of states, but he has made it clear that he is counting on taking in Gingrich's voters if or when the former House Speaker suspends his campaign to overtake Romney and win the GOP presidential candidate nomination.

As the conservative candidates prepare for the crucial primaries, Romney himself has conceded that he does expect to be too successful in the Southern states. Four years ago during the 2008 candidate race, he was well beaten by conservative and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in this category.

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"I realize," he said in a radio interview in Birmingham, Ala., "it's a bit of an away game, but I think we're going to pick up some support. I'm confident we're going to get some delegates."

 

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