Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum is exploring Secret Service protection following a rowdy rally in Washington state earlier in the week.

Santorum says it's "a sad state of affairs," especially after he spent several weeks campaigning in a supporter's pickup truck. But for his family's sake, he says, he's in discussions with the Secret Service.

Santorum hosted an outdoor rally adjacent to the campsite of Tacoma, Wash., Occupy protesters Monday night. They chanted and yelled during most of the event. Two protesters were dragged away by police.

Reflecting on the experience after another campaign stop Tuesday night, Santorum says it's unfortunate that some people "can get a little rowdy and sometimes a little violent."

Currently, the only GOP contender with Secret Service protection is Mitt Romney.