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Santorum Scores Endorsement, Hopes For Surge in Polls

Rick Santorum received the official endorsement of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz on Friday night. The GOP presidential candidate has languished at the back of the pack, but says crowds are now picking up at his events.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes the first endorsement by an elected official in Iowa gives his campaign a boost in the polls.

The former Pennsylvania senator — who has toured all 99 Iowa counties but has languished in the back of the GOP pack — received the not-so-secret endorsement of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz at a press conference Friday evening in Johnston.

"We're so excited to have Matt coming forward," said Santorum, who's currently  polling at 6 percent in the most recent Des Moines Register poll. "We hope more people will be coming next week and building on that momentum that Matt has started tonight."

The "big announcement" as it was billed, was leaked Thursday evening. But that didn't stop roughly 50 of Santorum's supporters from filling a small room at the .

Santorum said he's waiting for his spot on the bubble. 

"We could have one or two more bubbles between now and January 3," he said. "There are still people undecided. One candidate goes from zero to 60 to zero again. Up and down, up and down."

In 2008, Schultz endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but said this is a different election and different times.

"I believe that we need people like Senator Santorum here leading the country," Schultz said in his short speech. "We need someone that will stand up, that's a scrapper, that's willing to fight the good fight, because we need a new president of the United States."

Schultz first met Santorum while he was an intern on Capitol Hill.

"I started to learn about him," Schultz said. "We have a lot in common. I tend to be the underdog, slow and steady wins the race."

Santorum hopes that's the case with his campaign.

"Iowans take their time," he said. "Matt didn't say right away he was with us. You Iowans have a huge responsibility, a responsibility of narrowing the field. A big field comes in and a small one leaves."

The campaign, which included 250 town hall meetings in all 99 of Iowa counties, has been about the people.

"I learned a lot from small-town Iowa," he said. "I hear what people are saying."

It was that mentality that hooked Lee Booton, Upper Midwest regional director of Patriot Outreach — a program providing service for traumatized returning veterans.

"We went to Ron Paul they wouldn't step up," he said. "We met with Perry's people and they didn't step up. He (Santorum) is supporting our issues."

Santorum cited the media's attention to other candidates as a reason why they had surged in the polls, and he hasn't.

But he's picking up steam, he said.

"We're seeing the crowds now," he said of his campaign largely based on town hall meetings.

"Our crowds have been much bigger," he said. "We had about 50 people at a coffee shop in Newton today. We're getting crowds now, that's telling you what's going on."

Friday afternoon, more than 100 students and community members at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

At that speech Santorum said he was concerned about legalized gay marriage spilling into lessons in the classroom.

"One of the impacts of same sex marriage is the normalization and inoculation of normalization of same-sex values," he said.

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