Controversy Mars Santorum's Endorsement by Evangelical Leaders

The first sign of trouble surrounding a number of evangelical Christians backing Rick Santorum came via a blog post on the weekend. An attendee claimed it was done assuming Romney would get the nomination, but provided an opportunity for the evangelicals to be influential with the prospective nominee. Today, the Washington Times picks up on a slightly different charge.

When asked one-on-one why they were going for Santorum when they knew he had no money, no organization, and stood not a ghost of a chance to win the nomination, the truth came out:

“If we unify behind Santorum, it will force Romney to pick him as his running mate – for he’ll know that’s the only way to get our support in the general (election in November).” That’s the slimy deal behind this. They’ll go for Romney if he goes for Santorum on his ticket. Should we call them Judas Conservatives?

It’s now being alleged that a number of evangelicals not supporting Santorum left after the second ballot without realizing there was to be another vote. It’s also being reported that there were incidents of ballot stuffing in support of Santorum. Santorum ultimately received the endorsement on the third ballot.

Activists say pro-Santorum vote was rigged

A civil war is breaking out among evangelical leaders over allegations of a rigged election and ballot stuffing at a Saturday gathering of religious and social conservatives.

At the meeting about 150 religious conservative activists at the Benham, Texas, ranch of Nancy and Paul Pressler, Rick Santorum supporters claimed the former Pennsylvania senator was chosen on the third ballot as the consensus candidate to try to stop Mitt Romney’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.

Additionally, Reuters reported that the endorsement is not anticipated to have much impact on church goers. The brewing controversy around the endorsement isn’t likely to help that cause.