Texas Conservatives Looking to Rick Santorum

Two recent events in Texas have demonstrated a growing popularity for GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

The first happened in Brenham, Texas on January 14 when more than 150 conservative leaders gathered to discuss the Republican primary race and top policy goals for the next Republican Administration. Speaking on behalf of the meeting's organizers, Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins released the following statement.

"There is unanimous agreement among conservative leaders that we can and must replace President Barack Obama in November. Today, after praying for the nation's future, conservative leaders took the first steps in moving social conservative voters toward advancing a true conservative candidate toward the nomination. After hearing presentations from campaign surrogates and individuals' speeches and appeals, participants cast ballots for their presidential preference.

"The agreed-to threshold for support of the group was two-thirds of those present. That threshold was surpassed on the third ballot when Rick Santorum gained 74.5 percent of the vote and Newt Gingrich received 25.5 percent. From the outset, the stated goal of the meeting was to attempt to arrive at a consensus or a clear majority of support for a single conservative candidate. That goal was achieved. While a supermajority of those attending the meeting stated support for Rick Santorum as their preference in the Republican primary, it was also made clear that conservative leaders could coalesce around any of the three presidential candidates who had strong representation at the meeting; Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum."

In the first ballot, Rick Santorum led the way with 57 votes. Newt Gingrich had 48; Rick Perry 13; Mitt Romney 3; and Ron Paul 1. The second ballot was a contest between the top two vote getters and Santorum garnered 70 while Gingrich had 49. By the third ballot, Santorum outdid Gingrich by nearly 3 to 1 with 85 votes, while Gingrich won on 29.

The second event happened this past Saturday in Tarrant County. While Nevada voters went to the polls, Tarrant County held its own straw poll. Once again, Santorum came out on top with 37.20 per cent of the vote. Gingrich came in second with 25.61 percent; Paul had 19.14 percent, and Romney came in last with 18.06 percent.

If these two events give any indication of what is to come in the Texas primary, Santorum could walk away with quite a few delegates from the Lone Star State. That primary date, however, is only tentatively scheduled for April 3. The Texas legislature drew up new voting districts to account for four new Congressional seats won by Texas in the 2010 census, however, opponents have sued saying it does not comply with the Voting Rights Act. Principles in that lawsuit are in a federal court today and must to come to terms on the issue or the primary date will slip further into the future.

Image Source: Wikipedia