Follow us:

UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

April 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Is Rick Santorum on a recess, a re-assess or just being a dad?

Rick Santorum campaigning in Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RickSantorum).

Rick Santorum campaigning in Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RickSantorum).

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum — longshot version — is in the midst of a break this weekend, stepping off the campaign trail Thursday through Sunday.

Many in the political sphere began debating what this break means for Santorum following three defeats on Tuesday in primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

On Thursday, Santorum met with a group of conservative leaders who lean religiously evangelical. CNN reports that those in attendance included Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, as well as conservative activists Gary Bauer and Richard Viguerie.

Many took the meeting as a sign that Santorum might drop out of the race. Such news would be well received by some in the GOP. A number of Republican leaders have encouraged Santorum to end his campaign to help unite the party around front-runner Mitt Romney, which would allow supporters and the Romney campaign to focus campaign funds on the general election.

But not so fast with the “Santorum in 2016” T-shirts.

Early indications are that Santorum is re-tooling his campaign, rather than unspooling. Viguerie issued a statement after the meeting in which he said the conservative leaders offered ideas to Santorum about how best to bounce back in the campaign, including some forceful challenging of the GOP delegate counts.

The Santorum campaign immediately did that with a memo released Thursday, and on Friday the Republican National Committee issued a delegate count that allocates 573 delegates to Romney, fully 85 below the count of the Associated Press. But hold on: the RNC also allocated 79 fewer delegates than the AP to Santorum.

If Santorum is trying to win, this new count doesn’t help; in fact it puts him proportionally farther behind Romney. But if Santorum is trying to stop Romney from getting to the nomination-clinching 1,144 delegates, then it well may help — at least in terms of public perceptions.

Either way, it doesn’t look like Santorum is saying sayonara. The weekend break, therefore, looks like a chance to re-assess, perhaps to gird for one final push in the campaign.

Notably, there is another option to consider for Santorum’s Easter weekend break.

Santorum family

Santorum family (Photo courtesy of ricksantorum.com).

Perhaps the family values candidate is taking time out for his family.

Santorum has long campaigned on being a champion of faith and family. Santorum was already at home for the holiday weekend when his three-year-old daughter, Bella, was taken to the hospital with pneumonia. Bella has Edwards Syndrome or Trisomy 18, a rare but severe genetic defect, and Santorum frequently mentions her during his speeches.

The last time Santorum took a break from the campaign and canceled campaign events was in January when his daughter was in the hospital.

Many have rushed to support him and his family-first mentality. The Duggars family, of TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting fame, announced that they will campaign in Santorum’s stead and when they did this in Iowa, it worked.

The Duggars even released a video, “19 Reasons & Counting to Vote for Rick Santorum!” in March.

Recess, re-assess, or just being a dad? Maybe all three.

Comments | More in National | Topics: Bella Santorum, Evangelicals, Family

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►