Santorum takes lead in GOP primaries

By Jacqueline Scholten |Staff Writer|

A surprise victory was given to Rick Santorum, former senator of Pennsylvania, who won all three election contests taking place on Feb 7. This has shaken the Mitt Romney campaign and reminded Republicans that there is a long way to go in the race for the Republican nominee.

Santorum won elections in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado. Colorado and Minnesota were caucus elections and

Missouri was a “beauty contest” primary, consequently no electoral votes were awarded for any of them.
“I think it lends validity to the caucuses here in Iowa. It shows that it wasn’t a fluke that he’s showing well in other states,” says Tim Kapucian, Iowa’s state senator to WhoTv.

These are the first triumphs this conservative candidate has won since his narrow win in the Iowa caucus over a month ago.

Since then, Santorum has changed his speech by comparing Romney to Obama. He noted their similarities when it comes to health care, climate change and Wall Street.

“Santorum played a card that had been missing from the GOP contest so far. He implied that both Romney and Obama took these positions because they’re intellectual snobs — they think they ‘know better,” wrote Noam Scheiber for National Public Radio.

This attack on Romney was Santorum’s effort to consolidate the anti-Romney vote and show conservatives that if they vote for him he will not forget about social conservative issues in the midst of our economic crisis.

Current Gallup tracking polls show that after Santorum’s multiple victories he is now tied for second place with Newt Gingich, who is losing momentum. The polls also show that while going down a little in popularity, Romney is still the front runner and Ron Paul is trailing far behind in fourth place.

Even though Romney is still the leader in the race, critics think that Santorum’s victories are just the beginning.
“It’s not really about the delegates, it’s about the momentum you can build, the stories you can get in the press. It’s the people rallying to support you and he’s got that,” said Arthur Sanders, Drake political professor to WhoTV.

LA Times reported that Santorum beat Romney by almost 30 percentage points in Minnesota and by 5 points in Colorado. Romney won both of those states during the 2008 election.

Romney’s success has been attributed to his wealth and his organization. He has raised more money than all of his competitors and came into the election with his own fortune.

Data for 2011 from the LA Times shows that Santorum raised $2.2 million, this number pales in comparison to Romney’s $57.1 million.

However, in the race to consolidate the anti-Romney vote, Santorum is trying to show America that he is a force to be reckoned with.

He has won more election contests than all of the other candidates.

“Many more Republicans are taking Mr. Santorum seriously now, thanks to his victories,” said New York Times writer Jim Rutenberg. “And perhaps none more than Mr. Romney, for whom Mr. Santorum’s unexpected rise poses another threat from the right.”

The California primary elections for the presidential race will be held in June.

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