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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014

'We Did It Again,' Santorum Says of Deep South Wins

  • (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Stone)
    Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum smiles as he addresses supporters with his wife Karen behind him at his Alabama and Mississippi primary election night rally in Lafayette, Louisiana, March 13, 2012.
March 14, 2012|7:22 am

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum put another chink in rival Mitt Romney's armor of inevitability Tuesday night by winning the Alabama and Mississippi primaries. Newt Gingrich came in second in both states, but was unable to secure victories in the South, his strongest region.

"We did it again," Santorum said to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters in Lafayette, La.

The results were about the same in both states. In Alabama, Santorum won about 35 percent of the vote with 85 percent of precincts reporting followed by Gingrich (29 percent), Romney (29 percent) and Ron Paul (five percent). In Mississippi, Santorum won about 33 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting, followed by Gingrich (31 percent), Romney (30 percent) and Paul (four percent).

Exit polls conducted by CNN showed the highest turnout of evangelical Christians in the race so far. They comprised 74 percent of voters in Alabama and 80 percent of voters in Mississippi. Santorum carried 35 percent of evangelicals in each state. He also did well with conservatives, Tea Party supporters, and those who said the religious beliefs of the candidates matter a great deal.

Romney did well among those whose top concern was the economy and who said the most important candidate quality is an ability to defeat President Obama. Santorum was favored by those looking for a "true conservative" and "strong moral character," and Gingrich was favored by those who wanted a candidate with the "right experience."

In his victory speech, Santorum emphasized shared values and the importance of faith to his supporters. He said the most common thing he hears on the campaign trail is, "I'm praying for you."

"In spite of all the odds, all the money being spent, all the establishment, all the establishment being on the other side in this race, you stood with a guy, comes from the grandson of a coal miner from a steel town in Western Pennsylvania, but you knew shared your values and was going to go out and work for you to make sure this country was free and safe and prosperous based on believing in free people and free markets and free economy, and, of course, the integrity of the family and centrality of faith in our lives."

Gingrich had argued that the race was essentially a two person race after he won South Carolina and placed second in Florida. That message has now changed. Gingrich no longer expects to win a majority of delegates before the convention, but is planning on a contested convention.

"It doesn't change the underlying dynamic of this race," Vince Haley, Gingrich's deputy campaign manager, said of Santorum's victories. "That dynamic is a three way dynamic...and in this dynamic, this is going all the way to the convention. Nobody can wrap up the delegates before the convention, but it also means that the person who finishes strongest is very likely to be the nominee."

Haley may be correct about the likelihood of a contested convention.

"Mitt Romney is probably 100 percent right that it's hard to see a path for Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum to get the 50 percent delegates required, but it also might be hard for Romney to get the 50 percent," Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, said Tuesday on CNN. "If that happens, especially if you have a three way race, it could be a real mess in Tampa for Republicans."

Hawaii was won by Romney, who took 45 percent of the vote, with Santorum coming in second at 25 percent. Ron Paul came in third with 18 percent, and Gingrich came in last with just 11 percent.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/we-did-it-again-santorum-says-of-deep-south-wins-71376/