Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins announced this afternoon that the outcome of a meeting this weekend of around 150 prominent conservatives was a consensus to back Rick Santorum, achieved after three rounds of balloting. More details as they come …
UPDATE: “There was not a lot of hope that we could come to a consensus around a candidate,” Perkins said in a conference call with reporters about the expectations heading into the meeting, held near Houston, Texas.
When the third round of voting was held this morning, 114 people voted, down from around 130 the first round. (Perkins said some left to catch flights.) Out of those 114, 85 voted for Santorum. “There is this unanimous agreement to replace Barack Obama, and the strong consensus that emerged here was that Rick Santorum was the best one to do that,” Perkins said.
“I think you’re going to see some of the individual leaders that were here in the next few days probably step out with public endorsements,” Perkins remarked, adding that organizations, too, could be expected to get involved in supporting Santorum, in South Carolina and elsewhere.
Representatives from all the major campaigns, except for Jon Huntsman’s , spoke to those assembled.
The idea for the meeting emerged when conservatives feared a repeat of 2008, when the conservative vote split between multiple candidates, allowing the more moderate John McCain to nab the nomination. Asked what would happen if Romney became the nominee, Perkins said that hadn’t been discussed yet, saying those at the meeting had “not been resigned to the idea that he [Romney is going to have the nomination.”
“When you look at his delegate count, it is far from decided,” Perkins added.