ConservativeHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie has endorsed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for president.
Viguerie announced the endorsement as a follow-up to his attending a weekend meeting of 150 evangelical Christian leaders that longtime social conservative notables Nancy and Paul Pressler hosted at their ranch outside of Houston, Texas. That group also endorsed Santorum.
Viguerie issued a statement today noting that the meeting aimed, in part, “to assess whether social conservatives and other conservative movement leaders and activists might coalesce behind one Republican candidate for president.
“Contrary to some media reports of bitterness, suspicion, and acrimony at the meeting, in my 50-plus years in conservative politics at the national level I have rarely seen a gathering conducted in such a spirit of good will. While many of the participants came to the meeting strongly, even passionately, committed to one or another candidate, all of us participated in the meeting with the greatest mutual respect and in the prayerful hope for a positive outcome.
“My definition of a positive outcome from the meeting was that the conservative movement would coalesce behind a good candidate. I went to the meeting supporting Rick Santorum, but was prepared to support and work for the consensus candidate, whoever that turned-out to be. The strong support shown for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, whom I have concluded is the most electable conservative seeking the Republican nomination for president, is a positive outcome.
After two ballots, Viguerie noted, the field was narrowed to Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with Santorum leading.
“On the third and final ballot, a number of Gingrich supporters, in a principled effort to achieve unity, switched their support to Rick Santorum. This resulted in a strong 75 percent consensus of the group in support of Senator Santorum’s candidacy,” according to Viguerie’s statement.
“This was not an anti-anyone meeting. Everyone there was united in their commitment to find the best candidate to defeat Barack Obama. We are long past trying to find the perfect candidate who achieves 100 percent on every conservative scorecard. Each of the major Republican candidates had their articulate advocates, but after the third ballot, it was clear that there was a strong consensus behind Rick Santorum.
“The group consensus was based on Rick Santorum's character, his principled stands on the issues of life, family, and the conservative agenda in general — and most importantly, on his judgment. I urge you to join me in supporting Rick Santorum as the most electable conservative in the race for the Republican nomination for president.”
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