Rick Santorum at Black Hawk County Republican Dinner in 2011. Photo credit: Dave Davidson - Prezography.com
Rick Santorum at the Black Hawk County Republican Dinner in 2011.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum discussed what he would do if he did run for President in 2016.  In an interview with The Washington Post published on Tuesday he said 2016 will be different.

Update: A former Santorum campaign staffer emailed me and said he’s not officially making a decision on 2016 until next year.  He discussed what he will do should he choose to run, and he is seriously considering it.  The Washington Post article didn’t frame it that way.

“America loves an underdog. We’re definitely the underdog in this race,” Santorum said to Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty.  In 2012 Santorum won 11 states, and was briefly on top of the polls.  From that perspective it is hard to see him as an underdog.

Since 2012 through his organization Patriot Voices he has continued to build a network of over 150,000 grassroots activists, and he has honed his message as well.  His goal is to expand his base beyond social conservatives.  Earlier this year he wrote a book entitled Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works (see Adam Graham’s review)  Post-2012 he has pointed out that Republicans messaging has been narrowly focused on job creators at the expense of neglecting those who are just employees.  During the 2012 campaign his economic message focused on developing manufacturing jobs.

“I don’t think I’ve met a ‘suit’ yet,” Santorum said as he told Tumulty of his travels around the country. “It’s very much heart of America, average Americans who have found a place where they see someone who will stand up and fight for them. If the Republican Party has a future — and I sometimes question if it does — it’s in middle America. It’s not in corporate America.”

Santorum has maintained a strong presence in Iowa through Patriot Voices, as well as, making several midterm election appearances in Iowa.  He jumped into contested primaries when he endorsed Sam Clovis in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, and he also endorsed Matt Schultz in the Iowa 3rd Congressional District primary and Walt Rogers in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District GOP primary.

2016 promises to be a crowded Republican field.  Santorum showed that he campaigns very hard.  He crisscrossed the state visiting all of Iowa’s 99 counties.  He also started early.  He told Tumulty that he is better positioned in 2012.  ““We’re just obviously in a better place right now. Our message will be a lot more focused this time than it was last time,” Santorum said.

He will need strong messaging and a hard-working campaign if he ends up competing with prospective candidates 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson who have been making inroads into the state.

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