Surging Santorum Gets His Own Super PAC

Group spent $500,000 in Iowa and plans bigger ad buys in South Carolina.

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If Rick Santorum's second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses didn't prove he was a player for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the revelation today that he now has his own conservative "super PAC" helping his campaign should.

While not funded with millions of dollars like the political action committees aiding Mitt Romney, the Red, White and Blue Fund spent over $500,000 on two ads for Santorum in Iowa and is already mapping out a huge bid to influence the vote in South Carolina, where Santorum-leaning evangelicals carry weight.

The Red, White and Blue Fund endorsed Santorum in mid-December and went on the Iowa airwaves with an initial TV ad buy of $200,000, said spokesman Stuart Roy. In the last week, the group ran its ad buy total to $537,335. The ad "Resolute Leader" ran over 20 times in Iowa.

The fund entered the race so late that it largely operated under the media's radar, which was more focused on the Romney super PAC that Newt Gingrich was attacking for running negative ads against his campaign.

But the group today began promoting itself, likely as a way to help raise more funds to aid Santorum in South Carolina.

Santorum's success in Iowa has helped to turn on the donor spigots, said Roy. "Yesterday was the single biggest fundraising day for the PAC to date, as you might imagine. Donors dramatically increasing what they had given in the past, and maybe more importantly, new donors are coming into the fold who hadn't yet committed. This will all be reflected in the first wave of TV ads in South Carolina," he told Whispers.

"Senator Santorum demonstrated in Iowa that he has made this a two-man race due to his appeal as a principled conservative who can be trusted," added Roy. "Throughout his career he has proven his appeal to hard-pressed middle-class voters and crossover voters and an ability to take on the establishment and win."

NBC today reported that Wyoming investment manager Foster Freiss, a longtime Santorum ally, is providing seed money. He is also a major investor in the Daily Caller news website. The group hasn't released the names of other donors. Roy said that RWB was started by national political consultant Nick Ryan, who lives in Des Moines.

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