Tales from the Trail

Santorum courts Texas conservatives

February 9, 2012

By Judy Wiley

Roughly  1,000 supporters filled the Fairview Farms Corral Barn in Plano, Texas and spilled out the door  of the party hall where they’d come to see the man in the day’s political spotlight — Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Those who stood outside in the cold could only hear bits and pieces of Santorum’s talk, but that didn’t stop them from cheering after he raised his voice to declare, “Now is the time for America to rise up and say, “Enough!”

They took up a chant of “We pick Rick,” after he asked, “Are you going to give me the opportunity?”

Santorum’s  visit  to The Lone Star State opened  14 miles away in McKinney at a forum with  local pastors. Between the Bella Donna Chapel  and the barn at Fairview Farms, there was a stop at a Plano hotel ballroom where some 300 supporters turned out to “meet-and-greet” Santorum.

The Wednesday night rally at the Corral Barn  capped a  Texas campaign swing, with an exuberant Santorum buoyed  by  his three-state sweep in Tuesday’s GOP  nominating contests.

Joseph Cabrera and his sister Esperanza Cabrera of Dallas were in Plano with her two daughters — at their first political rally — but never got inside the 8,200 square foot barn behind Mario’s Chiquita Restaurant.

“I was always a Santorum supporter from the beginning, then I shifted away when Rick Perry came on,” Joseph Cabrera said. “I went back and forth and then to Newt.” He said Santorum’s “right to life” stance and “faith-based, moral agenda” won him over.

Santorum supporters Don Hoogland and Alyssa Stone, both of Plano, said the candidate’s stand on abortion and his public acknowledgment of his faith also attracted them.

Sarah and Charlie Wirl of Rhome, Texas, said they supported Newt Gingrich at first but  turned away from the former House Speaker because of “too much baggage.”  Santorum in now their choice. “The more you listen to him, the more you understand what a great conservative he is,” Charlie Wirl said of  the former Pennsylvania senator.

A handful of protesters stood across the parking lot with signs that read: “Bigotry wrapped up in prayer is still bigotry.”

Kevin Butler said he founded Secular Students of Collin County College to stand for the separation of church and state. “We just don’t like what Rick Santorum says about gays, atheists and agnostics.”

 

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Sarah Conard (Santorum gives “a thumbs up”  at his primary night rally in St. Charles, Missouri)

Comments
2 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Apparently the Republicans have decided that they are nominating a candidate for national pastor, not a candidate for president. We don’t need a national pastor.

Posted by davec.0121 | Report as abusive
 

He should do well in texas, after all they elected bush and perry.

Posted by fromthecenter | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/