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After strong Iowa showing, Santorum camp looks ahead to SC

CHARLESTON, S.C. – As Rick Santorum’s supporters celebrated his strong Iowa showing, they were also making preparations for a push through South Carolina that will begin even before the New Hampshire primary vote.

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U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum addresses a crowd in Iowa on Jan 3.

Santorum’s South Carolina fans, some of whom were gathered at his relatively well-appointed campaign headquarters to watch the caucus returns, will be able to see him in the Palmetto State on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 8th, when he stops in Greenville just two days before the New Hampshire vote.


His campaign also added another South Carolina staffer: political consultant Andrew Boucher, a former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican primary – a ramping-up of staff that suggests Santorum will seek to capitalize on his Iowa momentum here, a state that has picked every Republican presidential candidate since 1980.

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Santorum’s supporters, about 15 of whom remained at the headquarters as the final votes trickled in, were ecstatic about his neck-and-neck finish with Mitt Romney – but some of them said they weren’t surprised he did so well.

“I knew this was going to happen,” Kathy Hughes, a retired teacher from Mt. Pleasant, said. “So many people were saying, ‘why are you supporting him? Santorum can’t win!’ But I knew.”

She added that the phones at Santorum’s headquarters here had been ringing non-stop over the past few days. The phone did buzz a few times into the wee hours of Wednesday morning; the last call, Hughes said, came from a voter in Peoria, Illinois who was trying to get in touch with one of Santorum’s early-state headquarters.

Joan Peters, a member of the Charleston Tea Party board from Moncks Corner, said she supported Santorum’s decision not to skip New Hampshire and come directly to South Carolina as Michele Bachmann is doing and Rick Perry was going to do before he announced he’d first return to Austin to reassess his campaign.

“He’s probably not going to win because Mitt Romney’s got New Hampshire pretty sewn up, but he’ll do well and then he’ll come down to South Carolina and the money’s going to start coming in,” Peters said. “People now realize what we’ve always realized, which is that he’s a credible candidate and he can win.”

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