Posted at 03:32 PM ET, 01/07/2012

Rick Santorum to get Gary Bauer endorsement Sunday

Gary Bauer, a leader in the social conservative movement, will endorse Rick Santorum’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Sunday in South Carolina, according to a person close to Bauer.
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum mingles with the crowd before hosting a town hall meeting at a nursing home in Brentwood, N.H., on Wednesday. (Michael S. Williamson - WASHINGTON POST)

Bauer, who chairs the Campaign for Working Families, concluded that, of all the candidates, the former Pennsylvania senator comes closest to following the conservative principles of former president Ronald Reagan.

Bauer’s endorsement will be seen as a boost to his hopes of encouraging conservatives opposed to Mitt Romney to come together behind his candidacy, rather than have their votes scattered among several other conservatives still in the race.

Santorum, who nearly defeated Romney in the Iowa caucuses, is fighting to emerge as the consensus choice of the GOP’s conservative base and as the alternative to the former Massachusetts governor. But he is hampered by the continued presence of other candidates in the race, most notably former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Bauer ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2000. In a statement prepared for release on Sunday, Bauer says that, while there are “many fine candidates” competing for the nomination, none personifies “the Reagan-inspired conservatism that unites the GOP” better than Santorum does.

Calling the 2012 election the most important in a generation, Bauer says Santorum offers a vision of a “strong, growing, confident America.” in contrast to the “deficits, big government, higher taxes and slow growth” that he said have defined the administration of President Obama.

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By  |  03:32 PM ET, 01/07/2012

 
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