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Evangelical leaders back Santorum in a gathering in Texas; will it help him in South Carolina?

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Influential Evangelical Leaders Choose Rick Santorum For President

Evangelical leaders back Santorum in a gathering in Texas; will it help him in South Carolina?

Evangelical leaders chose to back former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at a gathering in Texas on Saturday. Over 150 social conservatives leaders met at a ranch outside of Houston, and participants decided that they would only go public with an endorsement if one of the candidates received two-thirds of the vote, which Santorum eventually received on the third ballot. 

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, in a briefing to the media, said Santorum was a “strong consensus” choice after three rounds of balloting. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished in second. 

Perkins also suggested that evangelical leaders and groups would endorse Santorum separately next week and attempt to raise money for him as well.

Santorum is battling Gingrich to potentially win the nation’s first-in-the-South primary in South Carolina on January 21. Doing so would cement either as the anti-Romney alternative in the race going forward and temporarily halt Romney’s momentum.

The announcement hurts Gingrich, who is battling to overtake Romney in South Carolina and needs to consolidate the anti-Romney vote in the state in which evangelical and social conservatives voters remain prominent and influential. It also hurts Perry, whose campaign will not have a rationale for continuing if he does not finish strongly in South Carolina. 

Perkins said surrogates for every candidate except for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman spoke to the evangelical leaders on Friday. 

“it’s time to get off the sidelines, and move into the process,” Perkins said in an interview later on CNN. 

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Written By

Tony Lee edits The Chase 2012 section and writes on politics and culture for HUMAN EVENTS. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. E-mail: ALEE (at) EaglePub.com

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