Santorum tells Iowa audience he’s open to another run for the White House

Isabella Santorum Laughs with her Dad

(CNN) — In his strongest language to date, possible 2016 Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum said he’s “very open to taking on another run” for the White House.

In a taping Wednesday on the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press,” Santorum was asked about his visit to the Hawkeye State, which holds the first contest in the presidential caucus and primary calendar, and whether the “door’s open” to another bid for the GOP nomination.

“I’m very open to taking on another run and right now I’m just doing everything that I would be doing if I was going to run,” answered Santorum, who added that “I’m here (in Iowa). I’m going to be around the country. I’m very concerned about our country.”

The former senator from Pennsylvania and GOP presidential candidate who battled eventual nominee Mitt Romney deep into the 2012 Republican primary calendar has a jam packed 24-hour visit to Iowa. Besides the “Iowa Press” interview, Santorum was scheduled to speak with other Iowa media outlets and hold a press gaggle with local reporters.

An aide to the former senator told CNN that Santorum was also meeting with senior strategists who guided his January 2012 victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Santorum, who remains popular with social and fiscal conservatives, will also headline a fundraiser for Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who’s running for Congress in a district that stretches from Des Moines to Council Bluffs. Schultz endorsed Santorum just before the 2012 Iowa caucuses, even though he and Romney share the same Mormon faith. Santorum edged out Romney to narrowly win the caucuses, following a lengthy recount.

Santorum has been very open about the possibility of a second White House run. In a recent interview with Time Magazine, Santorum said that if he were to launch another campaign for the GOP nomination, “I’d raise a lot more money. We’d have to have a stronger team, and a stronger fundraising base.”

Santorum ran a bare bones campaign in 2012, and was vastly outspent by Romney. Even though Santorum was effectively the last man standing against Romney in 2012, he polls in the mid-single digits in most national polls of Republicans’ choice for their party’s 2016 presidential nominee, near the bottom of a very crowded pack of potential contenders.

Santorum’s short visit to Iowa comes just two weeks after he was in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. He addressed the crowd at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua.

This is Santorum’s first visit to Iowa since last August, when made the rounds at the Iowa State Fair, spoke at a major gathering of social conservatives, and headlined a county GOP fundraiser.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 944 other followers