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August 28, 2014, 7:09 am

We have not seen the last of Santorum

See. I told you so. Mitt Romney has become the presumptive Republican Nominee for president. Assuming that he does not step onto a landmine, he will march on to Tampa, Fla., four months from now as the leader of the Republican Party to go up against Barack Obama.

But with Santorum’s recent exit from the presidential contest and with a large conservative movement still hungry for some excitement within the GOP, is there a role for Santorum to play?

The short answer is: Yes, absolutely.  Santorum’s future financially is secure with paid speeches, a possible book deal and television contracts looming, but the real question is: What will his political future look like?

It’s hard to imagine Rick Santorum running for statewide office again in Pennsylvania anytime soon. It’s too late for him to run again for his old Senate seat and that race will not be open again until 2017. If he were to run for the other Senate seat, he would have to run against Pat Toomey in a Republican primary, which is almost inconceivable. Governor Tom Corbett is expected to run for reelection in 2014 and again, Santorum would have to run in the primary which most likely would not happen either.

Santorum’s political future really is on the national stage. I have no doubt that Santorum will campaign aggressively for the Republican ticket for Romney all the way down to the Congressional races. His strength will be in attacking President Obama and drawing a stark contrast between what the Republicans stand for against the Democratic platform. If Romney looses — which I still think is a 50/50 chance — it’s a win for Santorum.

The day after the election, if Obama were to win re-election, Santorum becomes the instant frontrunner for the 2016 race and he’ll be in a position to say, “See I told you so, there was not enough of a contrast between Romney and Obama, and had the Republican Party would have gone with me, there would have been more of a distinct contrast.”

Now, that’s a huge assumption that Santorum could have beaten Obama in the general, but if Romney lost the election, Santorum would have the benefit of the “you never know until you tried” theory. To be clear, 2016 will not be a cakewalk for Santorum. If Romney loses, I expect to see Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels and other GOP heavyweights throw their hats in the ring, but I do think Santorum will still remain a front runner based on his comeback from behind story when he was in single digits just six months ago, had no staff, and barely had a mention in the first 15 GOP debates. 

Love him or hate him, you have to give Santorum credit for working his behind off and embracing the old school style of campaigning of pressing the flesh to make his points.

It is true that I used to work for Santorum, and yes, I see another side of him that many people do not see. Santorum is a hard worker, he is controversial, but he’s also a deep patriot who loves his country just as much as any other American. And although, I strongly and fervently disagree with Santorum on the issue of the right for gays and lesbians to marry, Santorum always made me think about my own convictions and I suspect he did the same for you. And I also suspect that he will be on the national political scene — elected or unelected — probing all of us to think about our positions for many years to come.

 

Follow Robert Traynham on Twitter @roberttraynham.