Posted in: Politics

Santorum, Gingrich Open To Running For President In 2016

Rick Santorum

Former Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have both stated over the past two days that they are open to running for president in 2016.

“I’m certainly leaving the door open for that,” Santorum said on The Steve Malzberg Show Wednesday. “I’m making no commitments at this point, but we’re not doing anything inconsistent with running in 2016.”

Santorum amassed the second highest number of delegates in the 2012 Republican primary, a primary that gave nearly every contender a spot in the sun as conservatives searched for an anybody-but-Romney candidate to send to the general election. Each lead contender — Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain — rose and fell within weeks, with most subsequently dropping out of the race. Santorum was the last candidate to rise, and since no one except libertarian favorite Ron Paul was left to pick by the end, he continue to gain the votes of social conservatives who wanted anyone except Romney on the ticket.

Santorum left the Senate in 2006 in the biggest defeat of an incumbent candidate since 1980. Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania went for Mitt Romney in a landslide, 58 percent to Santorum’s 18. He carried 11 states during the primary in total, all solid red states in central American and in the South. He centered his campaign on his conservative social positions, such as opposing abortion and gay marriage. He stands little chance of being a compelling presidential candidate at a time when public opinion in the country has continued to shift to the left.

What about Gingrich?

“I don’t rule it out, but we’re not spending any energy on it,” the former Speaker of the House said Thursday at a National Review event in Washington. According to the National Review, Gingrich acknowledged that a new crop of candidates will likely emerge by then, but he is not ready to leave the arena. He continues to write books and advise GOP leaders.

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich, for all his political savviness and prior experience, only managed to carry two states in the primary. He is on his third marriage, and while that does not say anything about his capacity to govern, he caters to the segment of the population that cares the most.

The 2012 Republican primary may have felt unpredictable at times, but the predictable candidate ultimately ended up winning. Santorum and Gingrich may be open to running for president in 2016, but it is up in the air if the Republican Party will be ready to run for them.

[Featured image by Gage Skidmore (Flickr: Rick Santorum) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

[Image of Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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