Rick Santorum Launches Conservative Group

Jun 8, 2012 8:25am
gty rick santorum dm 120608 wblog Rick Santorum Launches Conservative Group

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Rick Santorum announced Friday morning that he will be launching a new group that he will lead to promote conservative issues that were hallmarks of his campaign. The former presidential candidate is starting “Patriot Voices,” to make sure the topics he spoke about daily on the campaign trail stay as part of the national debate.

“One of the things that we found as I traveled around the country is that people came up to me a lot and said…I was out there speaking about things that gave voice to their concerns on a lot of issues,” Santorum said on Fox News this morning. “People are concerned about the economy, people are concerned about national security, but I think a lot of people have basic anxiety about where America is going and I tried to talk about those during the campaign: the adherence to the constitution and the importance of understanding where our rights come from and who we are as a people and a culture and how that is being changed by this administration on the issue of religious liberty or life or marriage.”

Santorum teased the announcement earlier in the week and ABC News reported Tuesday he would be forming the 501 c(4) organization. In a statement the group said they “will mobilize one million conservatives around this country who are committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity.” Through this group he can stay focused on these issues he cares the most about while trying to remain relevant as the de facto leader of social conservatives in this country.

The former Pennsylvania senator, in an interview broadcast from Chicago where he will speak at CPAC Chicago late today, said he wants to give a voice to “people left behind by both parties” and promised to “hold campaigns accountable.”

Dressed in a suit and not his signature sweater vest, Santorum said the group would also help out Mitt Romney’s campaign and “make sure Mitt is the next president of the United States and that we get rid of the scourge that has been the bane of the economy and the country which has been Barack Obama and his administration.”

When asked if Santorum only endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee in a late night missive because the meeting between the two in Pittsburgh last month went poorly, Santorum said no and instead it was to make sure his endorsement was in his supporters’ email boxes first thing in the morning and said the meeting “went exceptionally well.”

“We had a great discussion about exactly the issues that we will be talking about with patriotvoices.com. It’s about the issues that are going to connect with ordinary Americans who are feeling left out of the political process that see both parties talk past each other and no one trying to really get back to the basic principles of our country and unify America going forward,” Santorum said.

Santorum said he was waiting to lay out his political future until he cleared his campaign debt. It’s not clear yet that’s done, but as of the last reporting period we learned his campaign ended almost $2.3 million in debt.

Although this is a new group, the press release said it will “work closely with the Red White and Blue fund to offer financial and other political support to candidates who will stand up for conservative values.”

The RWB Fund is both Santorum’s superPAC and Santorum’s leadership PAC, a legal hybrid political action committee now that he is no longer a candidate. Patriot Voices will also work much like a leadership PAC: promoting these faith and family issues and backing like-minded candidates.

It’s also not clear if Patriot Voices is starting out with any cash behind them, but the Red, White, and Blue Fund had just more than $300,000 in the bank as of the last reporting period. Santorum up until this point, though, has been fundraising to retire his campaign debt, not on behalf of the hybrid PAC.

The release laid out exactly the issues the new organization will be focused on: defeating Barack Obama; advocating policies that “encourage traditional marriage, support children and free enterprise. Healthy families help produce a healthy economy;” and supporting both the military, veterans, and Israel while trying to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Patriot Voices will also work to try and repeal the president’s health care plan as well as supporting the manufacturing plan that was a hallmark of Santorum’s campaign. The group will also focus on restricting abortion rights while also “standing up for the most vulnerable among us” including “the disabled, the elderly, and the poor.”

This story has been updated since it was originally posted. 

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