Posted at 04:49 PM ET, 03/06/2012

Super Tuesday: In Tennessee, some Santorum fans

NOLENSVILLE, Tenn.—Among the major Super Tuesday states, Tennessee’s contest is the one where former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum had been, for a time at least, doing best.

And indeed, at the historic, white clapboard Nolensville First United Methodist Church, about 20 miles southwest of Nashville, Santorum found enthusiastic fans.

“I think he’s the one who fears God the most,” said Chris Newell, an insurance salesmen, 58, from Nolensville. “I think he stands for conservative principles.”

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Newell said, was a flip-flopper. Like a number of Santorum supporters, Newell said he gets sick of hearing that the race is over or Santorum can’t win.

“Personally, I believe any of them should be able to take Obama out. I don’t like how they say, ‘there’s no way he can beat Obama.’ I think it’s just the opposite. How can anyone not beat Obama?” he said.

Stay-at-home mother Christi Lockwood, 40, said she realizes Santorum is the most conservative option and isn’t sure how independent voters might react to him. But, in a primary election, she said that’s not the point.

“I take the opportunity of the primary to vote for who I truly want to see as my candidate. And then, in the general election, I vote party,” she said. “But I really dislike all the talk about the inevitable candidate. You’ve got to let the process play itself out. I don’t like the talk about who is and who isn’t electable. The American people decide who’s electable, not the media.”

Tennessee polls, which once showed Santorum with a sizable lead, have tightened in recent days. And, indeed, some voters said they had been leaning to the former Pennsylvania senator for a time but had recently changed their minds.

“Santorum’s too conservative for me,” Don Lofstrom, 63, a custom home builder who voted at the Oak View Elementary School in Franklin.

“My wife’s an educator. And some of the things he’s said about education, just has her up in arms. She shouts at the television,” said Lofstrom, of Santorum’s claim that President Obama was a snob because he urged children to go to college.

“I’m voting for the guy who I feel has the best chance of beating Obama,” Lofstrom said of his vote for Romney. “He’s got to get out. Got. To. Go.”

By  |  04:49 PM ET, 03/06/2012

Tags:  Tennessee, Super Tuesday, Rick Santorum

 
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