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Jim Bob Duggar of the famous family featured in TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting was in attendance at the Santorum Caucus Night Victory Party last night at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston, IA. He was there with a lot of other people, of course. The room was especially crowded due to a combination of a much larger media contingent and a greater number of highly enthusiastic supporters. One couldn’t help but think that the Santorum campaign was hardly expecting a crowd like this when they booked the room.

In any case, while the media and crowd waited for the final results of the vote and for Santorum to arrive, Jim Bob Duggar chatted with people near the front of the room. He’s a tall man, and he was one of the few that could be easily seen in the crowd. When I was able to navigate my way to the front of the room I found him explaining to a Santorum supporter that he really appreciated Santorum’s approach to the campaign, citing Santorum’s attendance of over 300 town hall meetings. He mentioned that he saw Santorum as a candidate that really attempted to answer questions rather than avoid them, characterizing Santorum as “genuine”, and  “somebody we can trust to be our President.”

I asked him, given the field of Evangelical/socially conservative candidates, what made him decide to support Santorum.

He said he had followed the career of Rick Santorum going back to his days in the Senate, so he was aware of Santorum’s views on issues as well as his accomplishments on those issues. He mentioned that his family (not surprisingly) had been discussing the GOP candidates for several weeks and trying to make a decision on who would be the best one to support. He said that there were a number of things that moved them toward Santorum. He (Santorum) had a “consistent voting record” on the issues that they cared about. He was “electable” too, a contention which Duggar supported by rattling off Santorum’s past victories in Pennsylvania, a heavily Democratic state. Contrasting Santorum with Romney, Duggar also mentioned one provision in Romneycare which he clearly saw as appalling: The $50 co-pay for elective abortions.

I asked him how much Santorum’s views on homeschooling influenced his decision to support Santorum. He was quick to point out that he has friends who school their children in a number of ways including public education, and he asserted it really wasn’t a factor at all. He said love for God was.

Photo courtesy of Dave Davidson, Prezography.com

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