Buying of the President

Published — May 27, 2015 Updated — February 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm ET

12 things to know about Rick Santorum

Introduction

Update, Feb. 3, 2016: Rick Santorum has decided to end his presidential campaign.

After former Sen. Rick Santorum announces his 2016 presidential run today, he’ll aim to recapture the political energy that propelled him to a surprisingly competitive 2012 run.

After all, Santorum, who once polled in the low single digits, won 11 Republican primary and caucus contests three years ago, including Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus.

But Santorum, who hasn’t occupied elected office since 2007, this time enters a hyper-competitive GOP presidential field.

Several of his competitors are already appealing directly to conservative, Christian voters concerned with social politics — the kinds of voters Santorum must woo to again win primaries.

Money is also a concern: Santorum simply didn’t have enough of it while battling Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, and a packed field in 2016 means big donors’ loyalties are likely to be even more divided.

Here’s more on Santorum’s political and financial history:

  • Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign raised less than $22.4 million — a tiny fraction of what eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney generated.
  • Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign committee still owed creditors about $455,000 through March, including debts for air travel, media consulting and a race car sponsorship.
  • One of Rick Santorum’s more successful fundraising efforts during his 2012 presidential run? Selling sweater vests.
  • Nick Ryan, who ran a super PAC that supported Rick Santorum during 2012, is now leading a super PAC backing 2016 presidential rival Mike Huckabee.
  • Rick Santorum represented Pennsylvanians while in Congress. But the Dallas metropolitan area gave him more money during his 2012 presidential run than any other.
  • Retirees were most likely to donate to Rick Santorum during his 2012 run. Healthcare and real estate professionals also ranked highly.
  • Rick Santorum leads a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit and super PAC, both called Patriot Voices. The super PAC had about $437,000 on hand as of Dec. 31.
  • “Bayer aspirin … gals put it between their knees” — Foster Friess, a top donor in 2012 to a pro-Rick Santorum super PAC, on how women could avoid getting pregnant.
  • Pro-Rick Santorum super PAC Red White and Blue Fund raised about $8.5 million during the 2012 election. This year, some presidential super PACs have raised thatin days.
  • Santorum likes panning the “liberal media.” But a financial disclosure from 2011 showed he worked as a TV commentator, radio host and Philadelphia Inquirercolumnist.
  • Santorum has also worked in a variety of political consulting and influence jobs, earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, Federal Election Commission, OpenSecrets.org, U.S. Senate, Wall Street Journal.

Image sources: Elvert Barnes/Flickr, Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Michael Vadon/Flickr

Read more in Federal Politics

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