Santorum Iowa Visit May Portend Presidential Aspirations

Jillian Bandes
Posted: Aug 12, 2009 6:41 PM
Santorum Iowa Visit May Portend Presidential Aspirations

Former Sen. Rick Santorum is making a trip to Iowa that screams “I’m running for President.”

In the state with the crucial first presidential primary competition, Santorum will attend a smattering of events on October 1, with a stop at America’s Future Fund PAC and Iowa’s Right to life group. He’ll do a hit on a Des Moines radio show and cap it off with a speech about the future of the GOP in front of a live audience.

John Brabender, a longtime advisor to the Senator, was moderate in his characterization of the Senator’s visit.

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“This is not necessarily a signal of anything other than he’s going to Iowa to give an important speech. He gets many requests,” he said.

But Brabender acknowledged that the trip did have significance in terms of preparations for a possible Presidential announcement.

“The reason he’s going to Iowa now is that he knows it gives him a national platform,” he said. “This isn’t the start of a long Presidential run, but certainly he understands the significance of going to Iowa.”

Santorum himself has repeatedly ducked accusations that he’s actually making a bid for the top seat, though the move is very clear; almost every politician with Presidential credentials who has taken a trip to Iowa has eventually entered the race. At least three Republican Governors have made the trek so far, in addition House Minority Conference Chair Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and other state politicians.

“Your voice becomes more amplified when you go to a place like Iowa or New Hampshire,” Santorum told the Politico on Tuesday. Santorum most recently lost his Senate re-election bid to Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., as part of the big GOP losses of 2006-2008.

If Santorum runs, it seems that he will face an uphill battle for his party’s vote. A New Hampshire poll released today showed Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney far ahead of any other possible Republican contenders, with over 50 percent of Iowa Republicans pulling for Romney. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee each received 17 percent.

“I’m very concerned about the state of affairs in this country and how Republicans are dealing with [issues], so this is an opportunity for me to go out and talk about things I think we need to be doing to turn this country in the right direction,” Santorum told the Politico.

Brabender said that as of now the trip is scheduled to last only one day, but that the phone has been “ringing off the hook” with requests for the Senator’s presence at even more events.