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Evangelicals weigh Santorum, Perry

Jan. 8, 2012 at 11:04 AM   |   Comments

BRENHAM, Texas, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Some conservative Christian leaders say they will meet in Texas next week to try to unite behind Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Leaders of the movement say they will be attempting to decide whether they can endorse one evangelical candidate and prevent a splintering of their votes, The Hill reported Sunday.

"I want to do whatever I can to convince my colleagues that Sen. Santorum is the right man," Gary Bauer, a former head of the Family Research Council and radio talk show host who was a GOP candidate for president in 2000, told the Washington newspaper.

Some say they still haven't made up their minds between Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, The Hill reported.

"It's up in the air," Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the socially conservative activist group Eagle Forum, said. "I'm still looking around, I may be one of those people who are going to decide when I walk into the ballot box. I'm not going to announce in the next week who I'm backing."

Iowa conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats, said uniting behind one evangelical candidate is an attempt to avoid the splitting of votes that occurred in 2008.

Conservative Christians had high expectations for Mike Huckabee heading into the 2008 South Carolina primary, but Fred Thompson refused to drop out of the race after a poor showing in Iowa and took 16 percent of the votes in South Carolina. That gave John McCain 33 percent of the votes to Huckabee's 30 percent. Huckabee never recovered and had trouble raising more campaign funds.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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