Santorum ‘Very Confident’ of Winning Tennessee

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
POWELL, Tenn. — Presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Wednesday that he is undaunted that Tennessee Republican leaders haven’t endorsed him, saying that his conservative credentials will help him carry the state on Super Tuesday.
“I’m a conservative and they know it,” the former Pennsylvania senator told reporters after an hour-long speech at the Temple Baptist Church outside Knoxville. “This is a state that we fit into very, very well, and I’m very confident.”
Santorum pointed to his record on government spending, national security and health care. “And I’ve led the charge on moral-cultural issues,” he said.
Santorum said he wasn’t concerned that the large number of state Republicans endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination includes Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and state House Speaker Beth Harwell.
“Every endorsement there is it seems like is going for Mitt Romney,” Santorum said. “This is the establishment — that’s just what happens.
“You know what, we’re the insurgent candidate here,” he said. “We’re the ones going out scrapping and clawing, and you know what? We’re doing all right.”
State Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville said he’s unconcerned that he’s among the few prominent Republicans endorsing Santorum.
“There’s more common people than there are establishment,” Dunn said in a phone interview. “So I think Santorum will win going away in Tennessee.”
A recent Vanderbilt University poll showed Santorum with 33 percent support, followed Romney with 17 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent.
The poll of 767 likely Republican primary voters was conducted Feb. 16-22 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Haslam in a statement praised Romney’s wins in Michigan and Arizona on Tuesday.
“He has the kind of common-sense approach this country needs to turn the economy around and put people back to work,” Haslam said. “I encourage Tennesseans to join me in casting their vote for Gov. Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s election.”
Ed Reese, 83, who teaches at Crown College of the Bible in Powell, said after the speech that he expects Santorum’s focus on social issues to be an advantage in the primary and general elections.
“Evangelical protestants and Catholics and many nonreligious people take great issue on abortion and same-sex marriage, so there’s a great alignment that goes beyond just one particular group,” he said. “And I think it will surface and show in this election.”
Santorum was introduced by former U.S. Rep. David Davis, who was defeated by current Rep. Phil Roe in the 2008 Republican primary for the 1st Congressional District seat in the northeastern corner of the state.
“He was part of the belief system of the tea party before there was a tea party,” Davis said. “That’s what we need — someone who understands our values, continue stand up for those values (and) not be ashamed of those values.”

One thought on “Santorum ‘Very Confident’ of Winning Tennessee

  1. Eric Holcombe

    Gee, you would think with all that support that maybe just one of them would have obtained 100 signatures on a delegate petition so Santorum would actually have a single delegate on the ballot.
    The only way he wins “going away” is if the Republican party steals votes from registered delegates who actually submitted delegate petitions (i.e., your primary vote doesn’t count). But, in a private club election, I guess they can make up the rules as they go along, like they have shown in Iowa, Maine, Nevada, etc.
    I’ve a question for Clarence Sexton too (adding to the list of James Dobson and Tony Perkins):
    Which Iranians should we Christians murder first after we help elect Santorum?

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