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Rick Santorum Goes Country

Posted: December 14, 2015 | By: Skylar Borchardt Tagged: From the Campaign Trail

I am from a small town in Minnesota and like to think I have a “country sense” to myself when I need to; however, I was entirely out of my element when attending the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association‘s Legislative Reception where presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke on Dec. 8.

Rick Santorum mingles with members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Photo by Skylar Borchardt

Rick Santorum mingles with members of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. Photo by Skylar Borchardt

First of all, this was in a location unlike any other I had been to. Usually a candidate will speak in a community center or office space or even a local restaurant, but Santorum was speaking amidst the exhibit hall of the Iowa Cattleman’s Association Conference. There were various vendors for all kinds of farm products and cattle products. This was only eclipsed by the vast amount of cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans, and cowboy boots in the entire building, not to mention the amount of trucks, and cattle hauling trailers in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn’s airport location in Des Moines.

Santorum went for a casual farm vibe in his apparel as well by wearing a blazer, jeans and some black boots. The entire event contained several western-cut suits and a lot of flannel and jeans. Once he was on stage, Santorum opened with his continued support for ethanol subsidies, of which he had supported in the 2012 caucuses as well. “I’m not a supporter of ethanol for political convenience, I believe ethanol is a reliable source of fuel and support it because of national security” Santorum said.

Santorum addressed the Iowa Cattleman's Association Photo by Skylar Borchardt

Santorum addressed the Iowa Cattleman’s Association on Dec. 8. Photo by Skylar Borchardt

In the fewer than 15 minutes Santorum spoke for, about 5 minutes was about agriculture, obviously a fitting topic for the audience. During his tenure in the Senate, Santorum served for 10 years on the Senate Agriculture Committee; he was the first Pennsylvania senator to serve on the Agriculture Committee, according to him. After his points about agriculture, Santorum focused on national security and ISIS, saying he was “the only candidate named a threat to ISIS by ISIS Magazine.” Santorum helped to support a regime change in Iran during his tenure in the Senate. He said he wrote sanctions against Iran for sponsoring terrorism and lost the original floor vote because of “Obama, Biden, Clinton, and Kerry.”

Santorum finished his speech and mingled with the members of the Iowa Cattleman’s Association for a while. He was discussing the Renewable Fuel Standard and continued emphasizing his support for ethanol subsidies to everyone in the audience. Boone County farmer Allen McCoy said, “I caucused for Santorum in 2012 and will again this year. He is one of us. He understands Iowa.” McCoy may support Santorum, who did win the 2012 caucuses, but Santorum has struggled to mount a comeback as of yet with only about a month-and-a-half until the caucuses.

IMG_1494Borchardt is a junior studying political science and law, politics, and society from Litchfield, Minnesota. This summer he interned in the office of U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and was the recipient of the Harkin Institute D.C. Experience Scholarship. He enjoys politics, Minnesota sports and playing his guitar. Follow him on Twitter.