Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum To Officially Launch Presidential Bid In Early June

May 24, 2011 1:17pm

ABC News' Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) reports:

Rick Santorum will officially jump into the presidential race during the week of June 5, a source close to the socially conservative former Pennsylvania senator told ABC News on Tuesday.

Santorum would become the sixth Republican candidate to officially declare he is running for the GOP presidential nomination — assuming no one else announces before him — following in the footsteps of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex.

Santorum has been polling in the low single digits, making his road to the GOP nomination a tough one. But he has real appeal among conservatives and he has already shown a willingness to be an “attack dog” within the GOP field. He has tangled with Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and, most recently, Gingrich.

Santorum has been traveling extensively to early nominating states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, over the past few months. He has been to each of those states more than a dozen times since he began exploring a presidential run.

Santorum plans to participate in a June 13 presidential debate at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire co-hosted by CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper.

The Pennsylvania Republican established a presidential exploratory committee in early May. (Forming an exploratory committee was one of the requirements for participation this month's Republican debate in South Carolina sponsored by Fox and the South Carolina Republican Party.)

The aide had no further details about where or in what form Santorum will make the announcement.

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