Politics
Politics

Rick Santorum: Convention Fight Would be Good for GOP

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Faced with a surge in establishment support for his leading opponent and some challenging delegate math, Rick Santorum has his work cut out for him if he wants to be the Republican nominee for president. Calls for the former Pennsylvania senator to step out of the race and concede to Mitt Romney are mounting from all corners of the GOP.

In a significant spiritual blow to Santorum's candidacy, Tea Party-backed Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson declared his support for Mitt Romney ahead of the Badger State's do-or-die primary which will be held this Tuesday. It's becoming clear that Republican party elders are nervous that the drawn out primary process might be hampering the GOP's prospects of retaking the White House in November. The surge in high profile endorsements for Governor Romney suggests that Republican kingmakers would like to see Govenor Romney's three remaining opponents step aside, Rick Santorum most of all.

Not so fast, says Santorum.

Ahead of a grilled cheese sampling campaign stop in Wisconsin, Santorum told reporters that the prolonged primary battle would actually help Republicans in the long run.

"I think it would be a fascinating display of open democracy," said Santorum. "And I think it would be an energizing thing for our party to have a candidate emerge who's a--who isn't the blessed candidate of the Republican establishment. I think that's a good thing, its a good narrative for us. It makes the election a short election; the shorter the election in the fall, the better off we are."

After that somewhat rambling defense, Santorum pointed to the standard Republican talking point that suggests the current GOP primary is no different than 2008's Democratic nomination fight between President Obama and then-Senator Hillary Clinton.

"Did that hurt them? No, it didn't hurt them at all," said Santorum. "It kept the Democratic Party engaged."

A recent PPP poll in Wisonsin has Santorum running behind Mitt Romney by seven points. The midwestern contest has been billed as the latest must-win scenario for Santorum, though the actual results are unlikely to cause any kind of real shakeup in the race. Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul have made statements indicating that they intend to continue on no matter what tomorrow's result.