Rick Santorum announced Monday that he will seek the 2012 Republican nomination for president.
Santorum served as one of the state’s two U.S. senators from 1995-07, until his defeat by current Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
Santorum, whose name has been bandied about by pundits speculating on the 2012 race for years, made the official announcement on the steps of the Somerset County Courthouse in Central Pennsylvania.
“I’m ready to lead,” Santorum said. “I’m ready to do what has to be done for the next generation, with the courage to fight for freedom, with the courage to fight for America.”
Santorum went on to sharply criticize the Obama administration, saying freedom would be at stake with another four years of the current president, surmising that “every single American will be hooked to the government with an IV.”
The former senator has long been an opponent of LGBT rights and has said he doesn’t believe Americans have a constitutional right to privacy in the bedroom.
Santorum once commented to a reporter, “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”
He went on to remark that sodomy is “antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.”
The LGBT community came out swinging in the effort to defeat him in the 2006 election.
Philadelphians Against Santorum, founded by openly gay activist Ray Murphy, drew about 2,000 volunteers who helped bring out many infrequent Democratic voters to support Casey’s campaign. The organization raised about $200,000 to defeat Santorum and staged get-out-the-vote initiatives like a visit by gay author and Santorum critic Dan Savage.
Murphy said he doubts Santorum could make it to the White House, but his announcement was still troublesome.
“I think Rick Santorum is a longshot for the 2012 Republican nomination,” he said. “However, his extreme views — especially on LGBT issues — are cause for concern. And if LGBT voters don’t get behind President Obama now, the door could be opened for a radical like Santorum to win the GOP nomination. As much fun as Philly Against Santorum was, I’d rather not have to restart it. The best way to do that is to nip his potential presidency in the bud and support Obama.”
Other confirmed Republican presidential candidates include Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and openly gay candidate Fred Karger.
Jen Colletta can be reached at email@example.com.