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Vander Plaats Backs Santorum

1:02 PM, Dec 20, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Rick Santorum, who is tied in Iowa for fourth place with Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry at 10 percent according to the latest PPP poll, gets a boost from a leading social conservative. The New York Times reports:

Bob Vander Plaats, who has sought to put his imprint on the Republican presidential race for months, announced Tuesday that he would support Mr. Santorum. Mr. Vander Plaats and other evangelical Christians have talked openly about their struggle to unite behind one candidate, but he urged others to follow his lead.

Mr. Santorum, campaigning Tuesday in Pella, Iowa, said the endorsement demonstrates how evangelicals in the state increasingly “see this as the campaign that is going to be the conservative alternative.”

"I do believe this caucus has the opportunity to break late and break fast," Vander Plaats told me yesterday. "And I do believe it’s completely set up for a surprise to take place." 

Although Vander Plaats is backing Santorum, his social conservative umbrella organization, The Family Leader, has decided to stay neutral--a telling sign that Iowa social conservatives and evangelicals remain ambivalent about the current field.

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