Slow and steady wins the race, at least it did in this case as Rick Santorum set about doing a “full Grassley” visiting all of Iowa’s 99 Counties, some of them several times.  He actually visited the rural areas, he listened, and he spoke to their concerns.  He worked his butt off.  When Michele Bachmann was doing her 99 county photo-op tour, Santorum was back visiting strategic communities in the state.  He placed ads at the right time.  He ran a text book campaign, Iowa style.

The one person who deserves the credit for his success?  Rick Santorum.

Sure he had help.  Some, like Steve Deace, would like to give Bob Vander Plaats practically all of the credit.  Did it help?  Sure.  But was it a game changer?  No, and it is ridiculous to think any one endorsement would make that kind of difference.  You know, I really think it was my endorsement that got things going… tip of the spear baby!  (I’m kidding, it was really Brian Myers’ endorsement).  Seriously, the surge was already starting up.  Vander Plaats almost made a mess of it by practically making the endorsement about him.   He said he needed money to promote the endorsement.  I wrote on 12/26:

Ok, forget the anonymous sources, now we have a Presidential candidate saying money was discussed to promote the endorsement.  Vander Plaats also said this that it was his “ethical responsibility.”  Forget whisper campaign controversy.  If Vander Plaats wanted to put his money where his mouth is then shouldn’t it be his money?  I don’t believe that money was an expectation for an endorsement, but this has to be a first for me hearing that an endorser wanted to spend money to promote his endorsement.  Is this endorsement about Santorum or him?  I mean one can make their endorsement, send out a press release even (or in my case write a blog post), but then after that shouldn’t it be left to the candidate to take if further if they want?

It would seem that what would have been a positive gain for Santorum has now been tainted, and The FAMiLY Leader’s credibility is being questioned.  One of the primary goals with an endorsement is that it doesn’t bring harm to your candidate or have people calling for an investigation.

This is simply a mess, and it is one that could have been easily avoided. Never mix the discussion of money (regardless of the why) with an endorsement, period.  Bob should know that we who profess Christ should avoid the very appearance of impropriety.  There may have been no wrong done, but it sure looks bad.

Vander Plaats’ comment to Santorum, as relayed by Rick Santorum could have gotten the Senator drug into an investigation.  Some help!

What helped along with Santorum’s hard work?  I’ll give Vander Plaats some credit, but not nearly as much as I give Matt Schultz, Iowa’s Secretary of State. He worked hard for Santorum (and didn’t feel he needed money to promote his endorsement… just saying).  He worked behind the scenes, he campaigned for Santorum, and he is a rising star within the Republican Party.

Chuck Laudner’s endorsement of Rick Santorum was key, not so much as the statement itself, but the elbow grease that came with it.  Laudner, a former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa, is networked beyond belief.  He went to work.  He knows the grassroots in this state.  He got people mobilized.  He worked hard for Santorum as well tooling him around the state in the “Chuck Truck.”

I think a key turning point was the pro-life forum that took place before Mike Huckabee’s Gift of Life Premiere.  He brought approximately 1300 prolife activists to their feet.  That was huge.  Also endorsements from Pastors like Cary Gordon and Terry Amman, also he earned some props from Sarah Palin.

Santorum’s campaign also ran some pretty effective, positive ads.  At the same time he also got some help from Herman Cain leaving the race, from Newt Gingrich’s dip as a result of negative advertising and people remembering the bad along with the good (so thank you Mitt Romney and Ron Paul), and from former Michele Bachmann Iowa State Chair, State Senator Kent Sorenson’s defection from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul.  Sorenson probably unwittingly helped Santorum, and Santorum won Sorenson’s Senate District.

These things build on one another and it led to the perfect storm of opportunity for Santorum to surge with some really good timing.

Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

4 comments
  1. Santorum worked harder than anybody else in Iowa, and it’s great to see that effort finally paying off.  Maybe other pols are taking notes for the future.

    The important thing now is for him to try to finish no lower than third in NH.  He doesn’t have to dazzle everybody–he just needs to do better than expected, which is definitely achievable.  

    Funny how the “Santorum’s just a fluke” comments are appearing right on cue.  So predictable.  Maybe we should write them all down and then hopefully get some bodacious laughs out of them a few weeks from now.   😉  

  2. SJ: I won’t say it’s a fluke… sure, he worked for it. What I will say is that it is a surprise he did as well as he did. 
    However, I don’t think the republican party at large WANTS him to win…. I think he’s far to fringe. 

    1. Laramie,

      I agree that it’s a surprise he did as well as he did–a pleasant one, IMO.  🙂  I also agree that the GOP establishment doesn’t want him to win, just as they didn’t want Huckabee to win last time.  Fringe?  Maybe to some (including the establishment), but not to me.

  3. Outstanding piece, Shane. I agree that Santorum’s surge was already happening, and that it wasn’t largely due to BVP’s endorsement. Many (like me) were undecided, and were just sorting things out along the process. I’m glad I had my Santorum signs up in my yard long before BVP spoke up.

    With pieces like this, if you weren’t such a stalwart Palin supporter, I’d almost think you were smart. ;>D

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