I talked to some Iowa politicos about whether any of the candidates at the bottom in the most recent Iowa polls — Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum — could surge. The consensus was that it’s Rick Santorum who’s is doing the groundwork necessary to be in a position to pull off a surprise win in Iowa:
“Only one is really cultivating the ground out here in Iowa, and that would be Santorum,” says Craig Robinson, editor of TheIowaRepublican.com and a former political director of the Iowa GOP. “He kind of continues to check in. He’s putting in the hard work, whereas Newt was in last night . . . at Principal Financial Group, unveiling his Contract with America, [but] he’s not really out there, pounding the pavement in rural Iowa in these counties. Herman Cain, he hasn’t even been here since the straw poll.”
“I think Santorum’s campaign has a chance to be the Mike Huckabee of 2008,” says Bob Vander Plaats, who chaired Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa campaign and is now president of the Family Leader, a conservative activist group. Vander Plaats says Iowans have been impressed with Santorum’s performance in the debates — but have also liked him on the trail.
Full piece here.