‘Patron Saint’: Rick Santorum Says 2024 GOP Presidential Campaigns Are Seeking His Advice Ahead Of Iowa Caucus

Former Republican presidential candidate and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said 2024 GOP campaigns have reached out to him ahead of the Jan. 15 Iowa caucus, Politico reported Thursday.

Santorum narrowly won Iowa in 2012 after polling in the low-single digits for much of his campaign, inching out ahead of the eventual GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. The former candidate told Politico that at least two Republican presidential campaigns have sought his advice in recent weeks as candidates are running out of time to take down former President Donald Trump, who is currently leading the field by nearly 50 points nationally.

“I’m the patron saint of all these guys who are looking for a longshot win, which is great,” Santorum told Politico.

Santorum had a RealClearPolitics (RCP) average of roughly 5% support in early December of 2011. Santorum went on to defeat Romney 24.6% to 24.5%, which the Iowa Republican Party called two weeks after the caucus date, according to Politico.

Santorum’s success was largely attributed to his many town halls and grassroots campaigning in the state, as the candidate only spent $23,000 on television advertisements, according to Politico.

“If someone can catch fire at the end, there’s a chance for that landslide type of activity that I experienced,” Santorum told Politico, though he currently expects Trump to win the caucus.

However, the dynamics of the 2024 Republican primary are distinct from 2012, as a former president is in the running who has double-digit leads nationally and in every key early nominating state.

“That was back when we all subscribed to this lane theory of politics, which Trump has sort of abandoned,” David Kochel, GOP consultant based in Iowa, told Politico. “[The primary currently] has to do with personality and celebrity. He is the axis around which voters determine who they are.”

The RCP average for a 2024 Republican Iowa caucus, based on polls conducted between Oct. 22 and Dec. 4, indicates Trump is far ahead with 47.3% support, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 18.7%, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley at 15.7%, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 5%, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 3.7% and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at 0.7%.

DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy and Christie participated in the Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) fourth debate on Wednesday, where the candidates met the party’s upped polling and donor criteria to make the stage. The debate stage has significantly narrowed since the RNC’s first event in August, with several Republicans already dropping from the race, including former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Trump has skipped every debate, and his lead in the Republican primary has only grown since.

Mary Lou Masters on December 7, 2023

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