Posted on | August 17, 2011 | 17 Comments
MY MONEY’S ON SANTORUM: Pawlenty’s Gone, So Who’ll Be The Next Republican To Fold?
Having covered Rick Santorum in Iowa, and having met his supporters, I know that he’s nowhere near dropping out. As he told me after our interview Saturday in Ames, they’ve run their entire campaign so far on about $600,000 in contributions and, according to Santorum’s staff, their online donations have increased since last Thursday’s debate. Here’s the debate exchange between Santorum and Ron Paul about Iran:
The thing about that is, both Santorum and Paul “won” that exchange in the eyes of their own supporters. And if Santorum’s hard-core supporters are not nearly as numerous or as vocal as Paul’s famously fanatical fans, they are still in a position to keep Santorum’s low-budget campaign going with contributions of $20, $50, $100. Santorum has got a solid base of support among pro-life Catholics, who are likely to continue making small donations regularly well into next year, because they feel it is very important to have “their guy” on the debate stage — and on the ballot — so that he can keep voicing their views. Those supporters were cheering when Santorum didn’t flinch on a tough abortion question:
Finishing fourth in the Ames Straw Poll with 1,657 votes, Santorum spent a lot less per vote than did Bachmann, whose ads were all over Iowa TV in the two weeks leading up to the straw poll, while Santorum wasn’t advertising at all. Steve Ertelt of LifeNews.com says “with the Republican presidential race partly becoming an expectations game, Santorum gets a boost by performing much better than expected.”
Jennifer Rubin featured Santorum today in the Washington Post, and the Santorum campaign released a video touting their fourth-place straw-poll finish as evidence of gathering momentum:
So any expectation that Santorum will quit is clearly mistaken. If I were asked which candidate will drop out next, I’d say Newt Gingrich. He has never recovered from his million-dollar Tiffany’s bill, his Aegean cruise and his mass staff exodus, and likely never will.