Trying To Stop Mitt Romney’s Rise, Evangelical Christian Conservatives Back Rick Santorum

Desperate to nominate a Republican more conservative than Mitt Romney, a group of religious power brokers met in Texas Saturday and announced they are throwing their support behind Rick Santorum.

More than 100 evangelical leaders attended the controversial confab with the hopes of coalescing around one of the traditional right-wingers in the divided GOP primary field.

After three ballots, the leaders emerged with a call for Christian conservatives to support Santorum — but the actual impact of the decision may be minimal.

The leaders said they had no plans to ask the other conservatives, including Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, to drop out, meaning the evangelical vote may remain split – which helps Romney.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was victorious in Iowa and New Hampshire, and a win next Saturday in South Carolina may give him a stranglehold on the GOP nomination.

Republicans who feel Romney is not conservative enough have cycled through a variety of candidates – from Herman Cain to Gingrich – to support but none of the politicians have been able to permanently harness that backing.

The evangelicals are hoping to change that after the meeting on a ranch outside Houston.

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