Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum says he is “open” to another run for president in 2016. Santorum was asked about a possible presidential campaign Monday at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
“I’m open to it, yeah,” Santorum replied. “I think there’s a fight right now as to what the soul of the Republican party’s going to be and the conservative movement, and we have something to say about that. I think from our battle, we’re not going to leave the field.”
In 2012, Santorum won nearly 4 million votes and 11 GOP primary contests—the same number of states, he pointed out, Ronald Reagan won in his failed 1976 presidential bid. The nomination eventually went to Mitt Romney, whom Santorum argued did not focus on what he considered the “main issue” of the race: The role of government in the lives of Americans.
“We didn’t make that argument in this race. Our candidate didn’t make that argument, as some of us said during the campaign, because he was not capable of making that argument,” Santorum said. “In my opinion, what could have been and what should have been a referendum election on what it means to be an American, what it means for us as a country to head down the road toward European socialism, we just simply didn’t make the argument at a time when I think America was ripe to hear the argument.”
The former senator argued the GOP could have performed better in the Midwest with a candidate, and a party, that did not “look askance” at a populist economic and social message. Santorum said he will be working with his organization, Patriot Voices, over the next couple of years. “We’re going to talk about all of the issues with an emphasis on cultural issues,” he said.
Santorum served in the House of Representatives for two terms and in 1994 was elected to the first of two terms in the Senate. He lost his 2006 reelection battle to Democrat Bob Casey by 18 points.