Rick Santorum Wins Alabama and Mississippi, Pledges to ‘Compete Everywhere’

Mar 13, 2012 11:48pm

Rick Santorum won both Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night, sweeping the Super Tuesday of the South and cementing the notion this is truly a two man battle with Mitt Romney.

The former Pennsylvania senator seemed to surprise even himself when he walked out on the stage in Lafayette, La., to cheers and said, “We did it again!”

Flanked by wife, Karen and three of his children, Santorum immediately hit Romney, who earlier today said Santorum was at the “desperate end” to his campaign.

“People are saying you’ve been outspent and you know, everybody’s talking about all the math and all the things in this race is inevitable,” Santorum said. “Well, for someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me for a race that was inevitable.”

Vastly outspent by Romney in both states, Santorum was still able to take them both. Mississippi and Alabama have a socially conservative electorate, but on the trail in both states Santorum shied away from talking about those topics, telling reporters in Alabama last week he thought the press covered that issue closely enough and he was going to focus on national security and energy, which he did.

He told supporters at a hotel Tuesday evening that his is a “grassroots campaign.”

“We will compete everywhere, we will compete everywhere,” Santorum said. “The time is now for conservatives to pull together. The time is now to make sure, make sure that we have the best chance to win this election and the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against Barack Obama who can take him on in every issue.”

The candidate runs a campaign like none of his current competitors or even like the campaigns he ran previously: There is no bus, no headquarters, and a scaled down staff, all thanks to frugality. But there are also frequent expressions of pride that the campaign and candidate feel they can win with none of the expected trappings of a modern race for the White House.

“Who would have ever thought in the age of media that we have in this country today that ordinary folks across this country can defy the odds day in and day out,” Santorum said.

Santorum chose to give his speech in neither Mississippi or Alabama and instead went to Louisiana, which votes March 24. He looked directly into the camera and pledged to Louisiana voters he would end the “extreme environmental policies of this administration.”

“We wanted to be here in Lafayette,” Santorum said. “We will put this town back to work so you can have a better quality of life.”

Near the conclusion of his speech, some networks called Mississippi for Santorum while he was on stage. Dressed in a suit and a light purple tie, he immediately embraced his wife. Karen Santorum seemed just as surprised, kissing her husband as the crowd cheered.

Results in the state of the Hawaii were not expected until early Wednesday morning Eastern time, but both Santorum’s daughter Elizabeth and Romney’s son Matt were campaigning in the 50th state for them over the past few days.

Santorum was to travel to Puerto Rico tonight, where he will spend two days campaigning. The governor of Puerto Rico has already endorsed Romney, but is a friend of Santorum’s.

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