Tuesday, April 10, 2012

SANTORUM FOLDS HIS VEST

Republican Presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, announced he would officially suspend his campaign for the nomination at a press conference held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Analysis of Santorum's candidacy includes many factors he influenced.  He offered a genuine and working approach to Presidential politics.  His ability to speak and attract the voters of the conservative right regarding social issues was solid.  Santorum was considered the conservative stalwart of all of the GOP candidates.  When conservative values were mentioned, for the most part, Santorum was considered the reference point.  He was considered the true underdog.  Back in December he barely held 1% of the vote.  He took a statewide campaign to Iowa, eventually won the state, and proceeded to win 11 total states during the campaign.  

Shortcomings of the Santorum campaign.  There are a couple notable weaknesses of the Santorum campaign that were undermining Rick's ability to break through with larger delegate wins.  
  • Operational faults.  This was his largest political 'achilles heel'.  Rick's one truck campaign through Iowa was not enough to sustain today's American political demands.  Rick's campaign team struggled with having enough national coverage to win state by state.  From Iowa on, he was only working about 3-4 primaries ahead with the team he could afford.
  • Money.  Yes, it takes a lot of bucks to win.  And, to win it all.  He attracted a strong surge of funds following victories in Iowa and Super Tuesday.  Yet, the flow was not substantial to quickly bolster more campaign staff and to purchase mass advertising.
  • Pivotal primary faults.  Filing to be a candidate in each state is a foundational element of a campaign.  His campaign let him down.  He failed to make the ballot in key states like Virginia.  In some other states like Ohio and Illinois, his campaign failed to complete enough petitions to be eligible for all delegates.  All of these blank ballots were like a thousand paper cuts if he were to go the distance.
  • Delegate wall.  True, Rick Santorum did have a good shot at winning delegates to possibly win the Republican nomination.  However, it was a growing mountain that he would not surmount.  When it comes down to it, Santorum would have had to win two-thirds of ALL remaining delegates from the remaining states.  This scenario would mean Romney, Gingrich and Paul would share a third of all remaining delegates.  Very unlikely with Romney currently needing only 500 more delegates to win and leading in 85% of all remaining state polls.
  • Polling.  Santorum was competitive in most all remaining state GOP primaries according to polling.  However, trends reflected Mitt Romney taking the lead or surging in many states over the last two weeks.  
We've reviewed his influence and challenges, but what was the turning point for Rick Santorum?  Weighing many of the above factors including money flow and operational faults Rick Santorum had to face some personal concerns.  One was the looming possibility of losing to Mitt Romney in his home state of Pennsylvania.  Polls indicated Romney was sustaining his lead versus Santorum in PA.  This would have been a devastating defeat for Rick.  It would have meant an abrupt flow of campaign contributions.  Plus, losing his home state could have affected his future political aspirations and credibility.  Another key point to closing down his campaign was his devotion to family.  His dear daughter Bella recently had another health scare and a rushed visit to the hospital.  Santorum stated his decision to suspend his campaign was a family decision made over the weekend.

Now as Rick Santorum folds his famed campaign vest and reflects upon his Presidential bid, what now for the conservative?  After some time with his family and settling out his campaign operation, I would expect to see Santorum do what it takes to defeat Barack Obama.  Rick Santorum's conservative voice will be a considerable asset to assist Mitt Romney in garnering the conservative element of America.  He will also be a welcome partner for many Republican candidates to regain control of the United States Senate.  Rick Santorum will continue to be a strong voice through the GOP Convention, the November election and beyond.

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