The Corner

Santorum in Winter, and Iowa

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) is quietly building a base for a possible 2012 presidential run:

In the second half of 2009, according to federal filings, [Santorum’s] PAC raised $710,000. Of that total, $557,000 was spent on direct mail and related expenditures — building a nationwide base of donors and supporters for Mr. Santorum. Just $38,500 was donated to candidates or causes.

“He has been committed to growing his base of supporters, folks that share his views, his conservative views,” said Santorum spokeswoman Virginia Davis. “And he’s doing that through direct mail, reaching out to known conservative donors.”

Though Santorum lost his 2006 reelection bid against Bob Casey Jr. by 18 points, his supporters still think the Fox News contributor and columnist has a national future:

His appeal beyond Pennsylvania is clear in the geography of his donor base: In the second half of 2009, only 8.4 percent of his PAC donations came from the state he once represented in Congress.

In related news, Santorum will be in Iowa today for the Pottawattamie County GOP’s Dutch Treat luncheon. It’s his second visit to the Hawkeye State in less than a month. That doesn’t mean everyone is buying into the chatter. As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes, “Unless Mr. Santorum is going to plant corn, there won’t be anything productive to come out of it.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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