Santorum Gets Backing From Social Conservatives

Evangelical conservatives met in Texas this weekend and decided to throw their support behind former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, but some fear the support is too little, too late. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished a distant second at the meeting. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Now, as the Romney campaign has been building momentum, religious conservatives remain deeply uncomfortable with him as the prospective Republican nominee. Today in Texas, evangelical leaders met. And as NPR's Joel Rose reports, they threw their support behind former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: More than 150 evangelical leaders met at a ranch outside Houston hoping to find one Republican presidential candidate they could rally around. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says he was doubtful until it happened.

TONY PERKINS: What I did not think was possible appears to be possible. After a vigorous and passionate discussion, there emerged a strong consensus around Rick Santorum.

ROSE: Santorum earned the support of more than two-thirds of the attendees. Newt Gingrich finished a distant second. On a conference call with reporters, Perkins said evangelicals are hoping to avoid a replay of 2008 when social conservatives split their votes between several candidates allowing the more moderate Senator John McCain to win the Republican nomination. When asked if today's endorsement might come too late to stop Mitt Romney's momentum, Perkins said no. Still, Santorum has a lot of catching up to do if he's going to win next weekend's South Carolina primary. Recent polls show him trailing Romney there by more than 10 points. Joel Rose, NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.