Santorum: We Have a ‘Guerrilla Campaign’

Mar 1, 2012 11:16pm

ATLANTA – Rick Santorum defined his campaign, which he says has none of the frills or trappings of Mitt Romney’s, as a “guerrilla campaign” Thursday. He raised $9  million in February alone, but the candidate believes as the race approaches Super Tuesday, he will be outspent by his rival.

“Look, I don’t have billionaires giving me tens of billions of dollars to super PACS,” Santorum said. “We raised $9 million in the last month. We’re converting a lot of that into television ads, but also a lot of other things that we’re doing. … We’re not going to be able to go out and use a sledge hammer on television, but we’re connecting with voters, social media, all sorts of volunteer calls and activities that we’ve got going on in every state.”

Santorum says he has “a great organization” in Georgia, the state with the biggest delegate haul when 10 states vote this coming Tuesday. He also, like the three others in this race, has a superPAC, but it hasn’t invested in Georgia yet. Romney’s superPAC has spent more than $1 million here up to now, but their ads are just attacking Newt Gingrich.

Santorum told reporters after a rally at an airplane hangar here that his website had 130,000 donors last month and two thirds were low-dollar donors. He added that he thought the Romney campaign and his superPAC’s negative ads in Michigan actually helped him in the state.  ”When he started to run those ads, we won voters,” said Santorum.

“Governor Romney’s M.O. of going out and trying to beat up another opponent is wearing thin among Republican voters,” he said.

“Compared to Governor Romney, nine percent of his donations were small dollar donations,” Santorum said. “We have the base of the Republican Party, we have the activists who are excited about our campaign who are contributing. There’s only so many times, there’s only so many people you can go for maxed-out contributions, but you can go back to that $50 donor again and again throughout the course of this campaign. And 130,000 people at a time, you can run a campaign based on that.”

He said he’s done fewer than 30 fundraisers while campaigning, a stunningly low number. The campaign relies on frugality and a stripped-down campaign to make the money last longer; there’s no national headquarters, and a small paid staff.

“We’re just not going around meeting with CEOs and in the big cities,” Santorum said. “This campaign is living off the hard work of average ordinary people across this country who want to see a fundamental change, not on folks who have a — well, let’s say a special interest in electing their candidate…. The folks who are giving $50 are the folks who want to see a free and prosperous America, and someone who is going to stand up for the values that made it that way.”

It’s not often you see a candidate that vocally rejects a high-dollar donation, but in doing so Santorum is aiming to try to appeal more to those donors he mentioned: the ones that can keep giving, nowhere near the legal limit.

One moment that personified the stripped-down campaign came when the candidate, his daughter Elizabeth, two aides and their Secret Service detail stopped by a Chick-Fil-A on Thursday for lunch before traveling across the country to campaign in Washington state ahead of Saturday’s caucuses.

He ordered a spicy chicken sandwich, while using a coupon, and had a quick conversation with the manager.

“Did you hear about one of the guys working for us? Did you hear about that,” Santorum asked the manager. She said she had not.

“Mitt Romney has this high-paid staff and all other people he got from all these law firms and everything, and our assistant marketing director we just hired out of a Chick-Fil-A,” Santorum said. “We’re a little bit of a different type of a campaign.”

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