Wyoming businessman Foster Friess, who’s been a major financial backer of Rick Santorum, tells Newsmax.TV that it didn’t make sense for the former Pennsylvania senator to commit scarce campaign resources in Florida.
“Florida is a place where it’s winner take all so it doesn’t make a lot of sense while he’s still gaining ground to try to expend a lot of money to have a big showing because it doesn’t mean much,” Friess said in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
Friess, who built one of the country’s top money management firms, is providing major financial support for the Red, White and Blue Fund — the super PAC supporting Santorum.
The group’s $537,000 of ad spending in Iowa may have played a key role in propelling Santorum to a narrow victory in the Hawkeye State.
Santorum vowed to press on following his third-place finish in Florida.
“If there’s one message that I think we got from the campaign in Florida, it's that Republicans can do better,” he said from Nevada. “We can do better than the discussion and the dialogue and the accusations that were going on in the state of Florida. Really this campaign went downhill.”
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Santorum added that Americans do not want to see a campaign based on a mudwrestling match “where everybody walks away dirty and not in a position to be able to represent our party proudly.”
Friess pointed to two polls which show Santorum leading Romney — one in Missouri, by a margin of 50 to 37, and the other in Ohio, by a margin of 45 to 38.
He said Santorum represents a fresh face for the party, which is something that appealed to voters in the past — most notably in the cases of Democrats Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
“They bring fresh faces. They bring Carter from out of nowhere. They bring Clinton from out of nowhere and then they bring Obama from beyond nowhere,” he said, adding that Santorum has the best chance of winning. “I think the fact that Rick is 53 years old and has this energy — he went to all of 380 town halls that he mustered in Iowa — and when people get to know him he’s great.”
Friess insists that he has no plans to encourage Santorum to get out of the race.
“No way,” he said emphatically. “I mean watch what’s going to happen in the states ahead. I mean this is just, what, the fourth state or something? We’re very excited with the fact that Rick raised over $4.2 million in January, which is slightly less than what Newt raised. So I think it’s good that these guys hang in there.”
Friess said that the extended nomination battle is good for the party.
“Newt is a very good debater. He’s a very sharp guy, very intellectual, very brilliant guy,” he said. “I think the longer these three battle it out, more people will get to understand what their positions are, what their values are and I think that’s a good thing for America.”
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