Rick Santorum is running for president: Five things to know

Republican field of presidential candidates keeps growing

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Four years after he shocked the Republican political establishment, Rick Santorum has decided he wants seconds and has thrown his hat in the ring for another presidential run.

He not only faces more challengers this time around – as the Republican field is so crowded that Fox News has said it can only open the debate to about half of them – but he will be facing off against more social conservatives.

Mr Santorum campaigned on social issues in 2012 to great effect, winning a number of states and delaying the eventual Republican nomination of Mitt Romney. But he’s now up against several candidates with similar politics and he’ll need even more of that special something that propelled him in 2012.

Here are five things to know about Rick Santorum heading into the 2016 nomination cycle:

He actually won Iowa in 2012, despite best efforts against him

Before the final vote count was complete in the 2012 Iowa Republican primary, the Iowa Republican Party declared favourite Mr Romney to be the winner by eight ballots. Once all votes were tallied, the party turned tail and named Mr Santorum the winner by a whopping 34 ballots, according to the Associated Press.

That blunder by the Republican Party likely cost Mr Santorum a lot of the momentum he should have gained by winning Iowa and he has said that most people probably don’t know he won the state.

Iowa was not his only victory last election cycle

Mr Santorum carried 11 states by popular vote in the 2012 presidential primaries. Aside from Iowa, he won Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

His political background

The Pennsylvania politician served four years in the House of Representatives and 12 years in the Senate, where he rose to become the third highest-ranking member. His energies were often focused on social issues, such as welfare restructuring and a late-term abortion ban.

His personal background

Born in Virginia, Mr Santorum attended Pennsylvania State University where he met his wife, Karen. The couple have been married since 1990 and have seven children. Another child, Gabriel Michael, died in 1996 two hours after he was born. His youngest child, Isabella, was born in 2008 with trisomy 18, a rare genetic disorder than kills 90 per cent of children before their first birthdays.

One odd fact

After he missed out on the 2012 Republican nomination, Mr Santorum became CEO of EchoLight Studios, a Christian film production and distribution company, responsible for such films as “The Christmas Candle” and “Beyond the Heavens”.

 

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